Year-old Fugitive Apprehension Unit takes credit for 812 arrests, but is that accurate?

Only 248 arrests completed by FAU alone

DENVER - The year-old Fugitive Apprehension Unit is responsible for arresting or clearing 812 fugitives according to the Department of Corrections. A CALL7 Investigation found the numbers may not appear what they seem. The 10-member FAU did not track or arrest each of the 812 fugitives. Instead, it was a multi-agency law enforcement effort. In some cases there was no arrest at all-- the fugitive died years prior to the Unit's conception or turned himself into parole.

The FAU was created in response to the murders of Nathan Leon and former prisons chief Tom Clements by fugitive, Evan Ebel. Ebel cut off his ankle monitor, unnoticed by his parole officer, giving him days to plan and ultimately shoot and kill the two men. 

The new elite unit went into effect on Aug. 1, 2013, after the Joint Budget Committee approved nearly $1 million in funding. A goal of the FAU was to alleviate the already burdened caseload of parole officers. To achieve that, members of the FAU don't have parolee caseloads. Their primary task is tracking down parole absconders and escapees.

FAU officers are expected to collaborate with other agencies. Last year Steve Hager, now the Director of Prisons, wrote in an email, "The FAU officers will work as a team, statewide, to assist and collaborate with local parole offices and law enforcement agencies in Fugitive Apprehension efforts."

In the 800-plus arrests credited to the FAU, only 248 were solely executed by FAU members. An additional 96 arrests were made in collaboration with parole officers maintaining regular caseloads.

When FAU worked with outside law enforcement agencies, they brought in 286 fugitives. In 173 of the cases cited by the DOC, the FAU took credit when another agency arrested the fugitive. Some of those arrests happened outside of Colorado.

For example, parolee Brittany Martinez was arrested by Des Moines, IW Police Department. Seven parolee absconders were arrested by U.S. Marshals, in seven different states.

The numbers provided by the DOC attribute eight dead parolees and one individual who turned himself into parole to the FAU efforts in its first year.

Print this article Back to Top