Former Adams County Sheriff and senior staff charged in training records fraud scheme
Sept. 28, 2023 (DENVER) — Attorney General Phil Weiser has charged former executive staff members of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office for allegedly carrying out a scheme to falsify records and claim credit for state-mandated law enforcement training that they did not complete.
Former Adams County Sheriff Richard Reigenborn, former Undersheriff Thomas McLallen, and former Division Chief Michael Bethel are accused of signing various training rosters for classes they did not attend and/or submitting training certificates to Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) in an attempt to count these fictitious trainings towards their 2021 mandatory annual training hours. Colorado POST is a unit in the Colorado Department of Law that oversees the training and certification of peace officers in the state.
According to an arrest affidavit, Bethel also allegedly used McLallen’s account password to log onto one of McLallen’s online accounts to complete training for McLallen. Without counting the fraudulent trainings, Reigenborn and McLallen lacked the hours needed to meet in-service training requirements for 2021.
Colorado peace officers are required to complete a minimum of 24 hours of annual in-service training, including at least 12 hours of perishable skills training in arrest control, driving, and firearms. Colorado POST can suspend a peace officer’s certification if the peace officer fails to meet the annual training requirements. Law enforcement agencies are also responsible for submitting truthful and accurate data to Colorado POST. A law enforcement agency can lose access to POST grant funds if it is found to be out of compliance with POST training rules due to their officers failing to complete required annual training.
State law, C.R.S. 24-31-307(3), authorizes the attorney general to enforce violations of POST training standards and bring criminal charges if the violation is knowingly or intentional, or impose fines.
“A foundation of effective policing is reliable and sound training. Well-trained officers build community trust and confidence in law enforcement. We’ll continue to take seriously any allegation of efforts to disregard state-mandated training or submit fraudulent training records to POST,” said Attorney General Weiser.
All three are charged with felony counts of forgery, attempt to influence a public servant, conspiracy to commit forgery, and conspiracy to attempt to influence a public servant. The cases are filed in Denver District Court under case numbers 23CR05655 (McLallen), 23CR05656 (Bethel) and 23CR05657 (Reigenborn).
Peace officers face revocation of their POST certification if they are convicted of a felony.
The filing of criminal charges is a formal accusation that an individual committed a crime under Colorado laws. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Chief Communications Officer
(720) 508-6553 office | (720) 245-4689 cell