Following an internal investigation, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock has demoted his longstanding undersheriff and changed multiple positions in the office’s upper management, known as the …
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Following an internal investigation, Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock has demoted his longstanding undersheriff and changed multiple positions in the office’s upper management, known as the command staff.
Holly Nicholson-Kluth served in the undersheriff position from 2014, when Spurlock was first elected, until the week of Nov. 16 this year, when she was replaced by David Walcher, the former sheriff of Arapahoe County. She now serves as a captain, a position several ranks below her former rank. Spurlock said he made the move, along with a few other changes in the command staff, to improve efficiencies in his office.
“In this case right there, it was in my best interest for efficiencies to move them and put other people in their place so I did and I think it will be in the best interest of efficiencies in my office,” he said in an interview.
Spurlock declined to release the internal investigation into Nicholson-Kluth and one other employee, Capt. Tim Moore, that triggered the change, citing a statute that allows these requests to be denied if the incident in question doesn’t involve a member of the public.
The sheriff confirmed that the change in staffing structure was the result of an internal investigation into both employees. He did not provide further details about the nature of the investigation.
“I’m just going to say it was a number of things that caused me to make that decision,” he said. “It was in the best interest of the office to put a new person in as undersheriff.”
Nicholson-Kluth also declined to provide additional information about the investigation, but said the sheriff has the right to change his staff as he sees fit.
“I’ve worked here for 32 years and I’ve served in many positons in the sheriff’s office,” she said. “No matter where I serve, I’m committed to serving the citizens and public safety in this community.”
Moore, who was also demoted, said the investigation was not in regard to any sort of ethics violation but didn't go into further detail.
"I did not commit any serious acts of misconduct, I did not do anything unethical, I did not do anything dishonest," he said. "The fact that my position has changed has nothing to do with my character."
Moore, who had served as a chief deputy for the past 6 1/2 years, now holds the position of captain of detentions.
"When you work in a command role you work at the pleasure of the sheriff," he said. "If the sheriff decides he wants to go a different direction, my job is to support that and accept it."
There was no formal announcement of the change in administration. Spurlock and his spokesperson, Lauren Childress, said that’s not unusual.
“I make movements all the time,” Spurlock said.
Walcher, formerly the chief deputy of professional standards, will now serve as undersheriff. Walcher, who served as Arapahoe County’s sheriff from 2014 until the Republican lost a re-election bid in 2018, started with Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in July of this year.
Spurlock said his decision wasn’t made because of Walcher’s recent hiring.
“I was just lucky,” Spurlock said. “I picked Dave as a guy with tons of experience and I got lucky there when I made this decision that I had him already on my staff.”
Spurlock said he doesn’t see the office’s operations changing in any significant way as a result of the change.
“(Walcher) has a different personality, but the day-to-day will remain the same,” he said.
Walcher said he has seen a few things within the office that could be improved.
“I think a new set of eyes is always a good thing,” Walcher said.
Other changes made in the restructuring include promoting Kevin Duffy from captain of investigations to chief deputy of law enforcement services and moving Daren Weekly from captain of detentions to captain of investigations. There are now two chief deputy positions instead of three under the former model.
"As command members of the sheriff's office, we are all on the same team," Moore said. "We were before this, we will be after this."
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