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Citing stress, Denver sheriff orders new training

By: The Associated Press
June 27, 2014 Updated: June 27, 2014 at 7:17 pm
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photo - Denver Sheriff Gary Wilson.
Denver Sheriff Gary Wilson. 

DENVER — Believing stress is behind many of the misconduct allegations against his deputies, Denver Sheriff Gary Wilson is introducing new training and guidance to help them cope.

The plan, announced Thursday, will include mentoring for recruits, a chaplaincy program, training on coping and a study of work hours and transfer practices. The department will also offer training for spouses and significant others to help them understand deputies' work and look out for elevated stress.

Wilson told The Denver Post (http://dpo.st/1mlstrx ) that deputies face pressure at work trying to maintain order with people who aren't always compliant in addition to stress in the rest of their lives.

"When that stress goes unmanaged too long, it can lead to bad decisions," he said.

The department currently has 114 open internal affairs investigations, nearly a third of which involve allegations of excessive force.

A federal judge recently criticized the jail, which is run by the sheriff's department, and Denver police for their handling of allegations of excessive force in the case of a former inmate who is suing the city and two deputies. He claims deputies assaulted him or allowed him to be assaulted.

U.S. District Judge John Kane has suggested two police internal affairs officers tried to intimidate a witness in that case. He asked federal authorities to investigate, but the city hasn't been notified of any formal investigations, Mayor Michael Hancock said.

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