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Crime and Courts

Former Arapahoe County Sheriff Patrick Sullivan dies

Sullivan served as sheriff between 1984 and 2002 and was considered a local legend until he was arrested in 2011 and charged with trading methamphetamine for sex after he was caught in an undercover operation

Patrick Sullivan, former five-term sheriff in Arapahoe County, has died. He was 78.

The coroner’s offices for Adams and Broomfield counties confirmed Monday he died May 1, The Denver Post reported. His cause of death was not immediately available.

Sullivan served as sheriff between 1984 and 2002 and was considered a local legend until he was arrested in 2011 and charged with trading methamphetamine for sex after he was caught in an undercover operation.

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He pleaded guilty in 2012 to felony possession of methamphetamine and soliciting prostitution and was originally sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years probation. However, he was re-sentenced to 15 months in jail after he repeatedly violated his probation by missing or tampering with urine samples.

At the time, Sullivan apologized and said he “had a drug problem.”

Sullivan was a hero to some for his anti-drug crusades during his tenure as sheriff — the county jail was named after him. Many applauded him in 1989 when he drove a vehicle through the fence of a home to rescue two deputies and a wounded teen who were taken hostage by an armed rape and murder suspect. But court documents now depict him as a man who lived a double life for years.

Sullivan’s daughter did not return a request for comment.


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