A former Adams County sheriff, undersheriff and division chief were arrested this week after they were accused of lying about the number of training hours officers completed in order to meet annual requirements, the Colorado Attorney General announced Thursday.
Rick Reigenborn, a former sheriff for the county, Tommie McLallen, a former undersheriff and Mickey Bethel, a former division chief, face four felony charges, including forgery and attempt to influence a public servant, court records show.
Under Colorado law, law enforcement officers are required to complete a minimum of 24 hours of annual in-service training, which includes at least 12 hours of skills training related to driving, firearms and arrest control. An officer’s certification can be suspended if they fail to meet the training requirements and a law enforcement agency can lose access to grant funds if its officers fall out of compliance with rules under the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training, which oversees the training and certification of officers across the state.
Reigenborn, McLallen and Bethel, who worked for one of the state’s largest law enforcement agencies in the state, are accused of signing various training rosters for classes they didn’t attend and submitting certificates to POST in an attempt to count the fictitious trainings toward their mandatory annual training hours, according to court documents.
Arrest affidavits stated that Bethel allegedly used McLallen’s account password to log into one of McLallen’s accounts to complete training for McLallen. Adam County Sheriff’s Office Commander James Hinrichs reported the breach to POST in a letter, court documents said.
Without counting the fraudulent trainings, Reigenborn and McLallen lacked sufficient hours needed to meet the in-service training requirements for 2021.
Sgt. JD Cordova, who worked at the sheriff’s office’s training facility, told state investigators Reigenborn, McLallen and Bethel had been falsifying records for four years. He said he didn’t report them fearing he would lose chances at being promoted, but flagged people in the agency’s internal system for whistleblowing, court documents said.
Colorado law allows for the Attorney General to bring criminal charges or impose fines if POST training standards are violated.
“A foundation of effective policing is reliable and sound training,” Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a statement Thursday. “Well-trained officers build community trust and confidence in law enforcement. We’ll continue to take seriously any allegation of efforts to disregard state-mandated training or submit fraudulent training records to POST.”
Reigenborn was Adams County’s top in command from 2018 to 2022 and lost his re-election last year after Colorado Public Radio reported that his office was under a state criminal investigation.
The investigation was launched by Colorado Bureau of Investigation and POST in January 2022 after a complaint was made about possible fraud.
Investigators sent Colorado Opens Records Act requests to the Adams County Sheriff’s Office to review the former sheriff and top officials’ Outlook calendars, internet browsing histories, keycard usage data and training records, arrest affidavits stated.
No information was available about upcoming court appearances. According to the state’s peace officer database, both McLallen and Bethel “retired while under investigation.”
If convicted of a felony, their POST certification could be revoked.