The chief of Brush Police Department, who played a central role in the controversial arrest and prosecution of two school administrators, has been hired as chief of police in the town of Eagle.
Derek Bos said his last day in Brush, an Eastern Plains community of about 5,300 residents, will be Dec. 9. He will start work in Eagle on Dec. 12.
“I’m leaving here on great terms. We’re very excited for the transition,” he said Tuesday.
Two school administrators in the Brush School District were charged this summer with multiple counts of sexual exploitation of a child, after they investigated a tip that students were sharing explicit images with each other. The tip, which came through Safe2Tell, was delivered to both school and local police.
Director of Secondary Schools Scott Hodgson and assistant director Bradley Bass found sexual images on several students’ phones the next day. They were stored on Snapchat, a disappearing photo app, and administrators worried students could remotely log into their accounts and delete the images even if their phones were confiscated. Bass used his work cellphone to take photos of the students’ phones to document which boy had which images. The photos were then transferred to a school server that only a few district employees had access to. Neither man has been accused of retaining the images for their own gratification.
Jared Barham, the school resource officer, was forwarded the Safe2Tell tip at the same time it was sent to the administrators. But Barham was covering night shifts for a city police officer out on parental leave and didn’t follow up on the tip until he returned to work at the school several weeks later.
He asked Bos a question about the case in late April, which is how Bos said he learned about it. The police department then began investigating Hodgson and Bass.
Bos issued several press releases saying the police department had been kept “in the dark” about the administrators’ “illegal actions” and asking the community to help “forgive these atrocities.”
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The charges do not allege the administrators kept the images for sexual gratification, only that they broke the law by collecting and storing them. Knowingly possessing any explicit images of kids is child pornography, no matter the intent, under state law. Law enforcement officers investigating are one of the few exceptions to the rule.
The case against Hodgson was thrown out by a district judge in September. Hodgson was reinstated at the school district in October. A hearing in Bass’ case is set for Nov. 21.
Bos said the case involving the school administrators, which has divided the community of Brush, did not factor his decision to leave.
“My family, we came from the mountains, we love the mountain environment,” he said, citing the recreation opportunities available. “I have a great job here in Brush. Leaving on good terms. I’m not in a position where I need a new job, so I could be picky and look for a good community and a good department and a great city council to work for.”
Bos said Eagle’s retiring police chief initially reached out to him about the job in May. He submitted an application over the summer and later withdrew from consideration due to the ongoing prosecution of the school administrators in Brush. Officials in Eagle reached out to him again around September and his agreement was finalized this past weekend.
It was not immediately clear who will be replacing him in Brush as police chief. Brush’s city manager did not immediately respond to questions Tuesday.
Bos previously worked for the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office for about a dozen years. He left due to “unethical” actions that he “didn’t want to be affiliated with,” he said. His notice of resignation submitted to the sheriff’s office and dated July 14, 2016, says only that he tendered his resignation effective immediately. His separation agreement says the county “has agreed that the only statements it will make in response to inquiries from the media or potential employers regarding the reason for Mr. Bos’ separation is that he resigned for personal reasons.”
He provided security consulting and training for nonprofits for two years before coming to Brush in 2018.
Eagle Town Manager Larry Pardee said the town was “very excited” for Bos to start. He declined to discuss the Brush case.
The Chaffee County sheriff did not immediately respond to questions.