FEDERAL HEIGHTS, Colo. (KDVR) — The 17th Judicial District attorney is expressing major concerns about the Federal Heights Police Department.
FOX31 obtained an Oct. 31 email from District Attorney Brian Mason to interim Federal Heights Police Chief Robert Grado. In the email, Mason breaks down the findings of a review of the department’s cases, finding serious failures and concerns for community safety.
Mason’s office shared the following statement with FOX31 about the review:
“On April 13, 2023, the Interim Police Chief for the Federal Heights Police Department asked our office to conduct a review of cases within his department. The Interim Police Chief requested this because of concerns related to his department’s backlog of serious felony cases.
Despite the unusual nature of this request, our office agreed to conduct the review in the interest of public safety. A Senior Deputy District Attorney and a Senior Investigator from our office spent hours at the Federal Heights Police Department over the next several months reviewing FHPD case files for the years 2020, 2021, and 2022. Our team uncovered serious lapses and failures in the investigation of felony cases conducted by the Federal Heights Police Department.
We have communicated these concerns to the department and the leadership in the City of Federal Heights.”17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office
In the email, Mason tells Grado that his office found a lack of investigation into felony crimes and a lack of follow-up with victims of serious crimes, including sexual assaults, sexual assaults on children and other violent crimes.
Mason goes on to say in the email that the Federal Heights Police Department is “woefully” staffed.
“Two detectives are woefully inadequate to investigate the level of crime in Federal Heights — and their inability to work overtime makes the city less safe,” Mason said in the email.
Federal Heights responds, police referred to AG
While Grado declined an interview, he referred FOX31 to Federal Heights City Manager Jacqueline Halburnt, who sent the following statement:
“We hired a consultant about two weeks ago for professional advice on overall staffing levels in the PD; and furthermore, due to the seriousness of the matter, we also made arrangements to hire a retired major crimes supervisor from a large metropolitan police department. He’s been hired to specifically look at backlogs, work flow and case load in the division. Also, the PD had already applied for (about five months ago) and was recently awarded, a sexual assault police detective grant through the U.S. Department of Justice, office on Violence Against Women (VAWA) that begins in 2024 to fund another detective.”Federal Heights City Manager Jacqueline Halburnt
Mason concludes his review by saying that he’s referred his team’s findings to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office for potential further investigation and review. Additionally, he referred the findings to the state Office for Victims Programs for a potential Victim Rights Act investigation.
Spokespeople for both offices declined to comment.