Former Arapahoe County sheriff Patrick Sullivan gets 15 month sentence for probation violation

Former lawmen admits he has a drug problem

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - Former Arapahoe County Sheriff Patrick Sullivan, once one of the most respected lawmen in the country, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for repeatedly violation probation.

Sullivan was arrested in 2011 and convicted in 2012 on drug and solicitation charges. 

He was sentenced to 38 days in the jail named for him and was placed on probation for two years.

During that probation, Sullivan repeated tested positive for meth and alcohol, or failed to show up for screenings.  He also left the state without permission.

His probation officer called Sullivan's attempted compliance "superficial."

"He's made little to no progress in trying to come into compliance," the officer said. "He sees himself above the law."

Assistant Attorney General Robert Shapiro told the Court that Sullivan's initial court appearances following his conviction were focused on addressing his substance abuse.

"Now, they're focusing less on substance abuse issues and more on the safety of the community," Shapiro said.

During the hearing, the former lawman admitted that he had a drug problem.

"I'm sorry I did not succeed on probation," he told the judge. "I have only myself to blame."

But the former sheriff asked for leniency, telling the judge, "I know I am making progress."

18th Judicial District Chief Judge William Sylvester told Sullivan that the number of missed or diluted alcohol screenings were extraordinary.

"This court did give Mr. Sullivan an opportunity to rehabilitate himself," Sylvester said. "The Probation Department gave him opportunity to avail himself of treatment. Colorado has exhausted its efforts."

With that, the judge sentenced Sullivan to 15 months behind bars in the Department of Corrections.

Patrick Sullivan sentenced to 15 months in DOC!

— Lance Hernandez (@lancehernandez7) June 19, 2014

"It's unfortunate that you put everyone in this situation," Sylvester said.

Several spectators in the courtroom burst into applause following the Judge's decision.

Several said the man who once advocated for the eradication of methamphetamine should spend time in prison.

Those who worked with Sullivan say they were stunned by the case and saddened by the recent violations. Sullivan was a celebrated sheriff who was known as an anti-drug crusader.

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