Five Boulder police officers disciplined after internal audit finds misconduct in investigations unit

A police detective in Boulder has been reassigned to an officer’s position and four supervisors have been disciplined after an internal investigation of the department’s Investigations Unit determined officer misconduct.

Additionally, the department also has changed policy regarding investigators’ caseloads and how investigators are supervised.

Kwame Williams, formerly a detective and now reassigned as an officer, is also suspended for five days without pay, according to a Boulder news release.

As part of a review of the department’s case management system, requested by Police Chief Maris Herold, police officials “became aware of cases assigned to a particular detective that had not been investigated or investigated fully between 2019 and the present,” the release said.

In July, Herold brought the findings to the Professional Standards Unit and the Independent Police Monitor, with allegations of several different rule and policy violations made against Williams and four of his supervisors.

A subsequent internal Professional Standards Unit investigation found all five officers had committed the alleged violations.

In August, that investigation was sent to the Office of the Independent Police Monitor and the civilian Police Oversight Panel for review prior to a disciplinary determination, which was imposed by Herold on Nov. 1.

Commander Thomas Trujillo, who has worked on the JonBenét Ramsey case, received an involuntary transfer to another division and a three-day suspension without pay. He was placed on a Performance Improvement Plan. Boulder spokesperson Sarah Huntley declined to confirm to which department or assignment Trujillo was transferred.

Commander Barry Hartkopp was given a one-year letter of reprimand and is receiving additional training.

Sgt. David Spraggs retired by resignation. The chief accepted the resignation and ordered that the termination that had been recommended be held “in abeyance.”

Sgt. Brannon Winn was suspended for one day without pay.

Huntley said Trujillo, Hartkopp, Spraggs and Winn were Williams’ supervisors but did not further specify their roles. The city website describes Trujillo as the head of the investigations unit and Hartkopp as the commander of the professional standards unit.

“I regret that this happened and consider it a serious situation,” Herold said in the release. “We had an employee who apparently became overwhelmed. He has since been reassigned from the Investigations Unit.”

The department has taken additional steps in the aftermath of the investigation, including rewriting “its investigations’ case management policy to provide for workload standards, including limiting the number of cases any one detective may handle, ensuring a regular review of open cases by supervisors, and imposing time limits for investigations,” according to the release.

“Our department understands the tremendous responsibility it has to investigate reported crimes diligently and in a timely manner. This is a sacred trust our community has placed in us,” Herold said. “We take this responsibility seriously.”

The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office is conducting an independent audit of the cases. The release did not state how many cases Williams was supposed to be handling.

“The District Attorney’s Office regards this as a serious matter and will conduct an independent audit of the cases in question,” Shannon Carbone, a DA’s office spokesperson, wrote in an email. “These cases had been assigned to a particular detective and had not been investigated or investigated to completion. Once the independent audit is completed, the case numbers and our findings will be shared with the media and our community.”

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