DENVER - Following several CALL7 investigations, the head of Colorado's parole division was put on leave by the interim director of the Colorado Department of Corrections.
DOC spokeswoman Allison Morgan said it is paid leave and that Hand will remain at that status until an audit of the department is completed. There is no timeline for that work, Morgan said.
This comes after several CALL7 Investigations into the handling of parolee Evan Ebel.
According to DOC documents, Ebel cut off his ankle monitor and his parole officer didn’t check in on him for six days, until after the murders of Nate Leon and Tom Clements.
The CALL7 Investigators found a lack of accountability and an absence of policies requiring parole officers to respond to tamper alerts from ankle bracelets. Then, Tuesday, a parole officer blew the whistle on the department issuing expired ballistic vests and other mismanagement during an interview with CALL7 Investigator Theresa Marchetta.
Morgan said she was not aware of a specific action that precipitated this decision, but said anything specific would be considered a personnel matter and would not be discussed publicly.
In the email from Rodger Werholtz, obtained by Marchetta, the interim executive director of the DOC wrote, “after careful thought and discussion over the past several days, I am ready to advise you that Mr. Hand will be away on a temporary leave of absence. In his absence, I have requested Steve Hager to assume leadership of the Division of Adult Parole, Community Corrections and the Youthful Offender System.”
Werholtz asked the staff to give Hand their support.
Hand sent this email, obtained by Marchetta, to the staff Tuesday before his departure:
The Department and the Division have experienced a lot of attention in the wake of Mr. Clements’ homicide. I expect that the interest in our operations will continue for weeks to come.
This attention and scrutiny may be difficult for us to experience. Even so, I expect all of us to maintain our professionalism and our focus on the duties that we have been sworn to perform for the citizens of Colorado.
We have many challenges ahead of us. If you ever have questions or issues, my door is always open and I am available to you.
Thank you for your commitment to Colorado.