Firman to step down as Denver sheriff

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After four years on the job, Denver Sheriff Patrick Firman will step down later this month.

Firman will leave the position on Oct. 14. The news came from a release from the city on the evening of Sept. 11. The next day the city announced that Frances Gomez was appointed by the Hancock administration as the interim sheriff.

Gomez is currently the director of professional standards in the Denver Sheriff’s Department. She will be the first woman to take the role of sheriff in the department’s history.

Firman was first appointed sheriff by Mayor Michael B. Hancock in October 2015. His four years in the role has been marked with controversy. Earlier this summer, former inmate Diana Sanchez filed a lawsuit against the City and County of Denver, after giving birth unassisted in a city jail cell in 2018. In September, the Denver City Council approved a $1.55 million settlement with 15 female sheriff’s deputies who claimed they had been sexually harassed while working.

“Sheriff Firman has weathered criticism, fair and unfair, over his tenure at the department, but he remained dedicated his personal commitment to corrections reform, equity, ethical leadership and a passion for serving the people of Denver,” Hancock said in the news release. “He is a loyal and dedicated public servant, and a compassionate and humane man working in an environment where both qualities are sorely needed.”

The release also outlined some of Firman’s successes after four years as the Denver sheriff, such as a new use-of-force policy that centered on de-escalation. He also added an employee wellness program and increased the number of mental health providers, the release said.

Executive Director of Public Safety Troy Riggs will begin the search for a new sheriff in the coming months. He will present his findings to Hancock and his team in January.

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