Critical Incident Response Team investigating death of man in Weld County Jail | MyWindsorNow.com

Critical Incident Response Team investigating death of man in Weld County Jail

Staff reports

The Weld County Critical Incident Response Team is investigating a death in the Weld County Jail after authorities found a man unresponsive in his medium security housing unit Thursday afternoon.

Deputies discovered the man about 1:45 p.m. Immediately afterward, they began CPR, but their efforts to necessitate him were unsuccessful.

The man was transported to North Colorado Medical Center where and pronounced him dead at 2:41 p.m., according to a news release from Greeley police Sgt. Joe Tymkowych.

The man had been booked into the jail within the past week and charged with a variety of crimes. No other inmates at the jail were in danger as a result of the death.

The Weld County 19th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team has been assigned to investigate the incident. The Weld County Coroner's Office also is investigating the man's death.

The man's identity will not be released until his family have been notified. The Weld County Coroner's Office will determine the cause and manner of his death.

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Authorities ask anyone with information regarding the death to call Greeley police Sgt. Tom Walde at the Greeley Police Department: (970) 350-9604.

Tymkowych said because of a change in the law that went into effect at the beginning of this year, critical incident response teams are charged with investigating deaths that occur in police custody. He said this is similar to police involved shootings where the teams investigate in lieu of officers form the jurisdiction where the incident took place.

"We want to be sure that people have confidence in the investigation so we separate that specific law enforcement agency away from it," he said. "It shines a lot more light on it, and people have a lot more confidence in the idea that investigations aren't being investigated by their own department.

Tymkowych said the investigation in this case, the death will principally be led by Greeley police investigators, though others from the team, which is comprised of law enforcement officers from across the county, also will participate. Weld County sheriff's deputies will not participate.

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams said while the CIRT team does its work to ensure no laws were violated, the sheriff's office will conduct its own administrative investigation to ensure all policies and procedures were followed.

"Our administrative team will be doing an internal affairs investigation alongside that critical incident response team to ensure that our policies and procedures were adhered to," he said. "We're looking for any ways that we can improve operations, if that becomes evident through the investigation."

The team

The Critical Incident Response Team is composed of authorities from across the county. It draws its leadership and investigators from as many agencies as possible, the primary goal to bring an increased level of transparency to investigations of law enforcement by operating as a multi-jurisdictional cooperative. It frequently investigates officer-involved shootings.