The Detail Newsletter DECEMBER 2023


In 2007, Deputy Dana O'Neill was working as a School Resource Officer but decided she wanted to do even more to help people. She loved her job as a deputy sheriff but knew she had special skills that could benefit others.

"I love the one-on-one conversation to be able to connect with people. Throughout my law enforcement career, I've had the opportunity to learn and hone new communication skills. I'm not only able to use these skills for negotiating, but in every day interactions. I like to help people resolve their issues in a peaceful way and get everyone home safely," says Deputy Dana O'Neill.
Deputy Dana O'Neill works with her team on a SWAT call

So Deputy O'Neill joined the Crisis Negotiations Team which works together alongside the SWAT Team to bring safe resolutions to critical incidents. They do this by making contact with the subject and gathering intelligence information they can relay to the SWAT commander. The team deploys to scenes with special equipment in a large van that can hold a team of up to six negotiators:

  1. A primary negotiator who does the communicating with the subject;
  2. A coach who assists the primary;
  3. A scribe who documents and takes notes while the negotiating is taking place;
  4. An intel analyst who gathers intelligence;
  5. A team leader who supports the team and relays information to the team sergeant; and
  6. A team sergeant who oversees the entire team.
The Crisis Negotiation Team trains with real-life scenarios once a month
"We're deployed to situations where somebody is in a crisis -- whether someone is taken hostage, there's a barricaded subject, someone wanted for a high-risk warrant, or an armed suicidal person. Our job is to talk with people to try to influence their behavior toward a positive and peaceful outcome," says Deputy O'Neill.

While hostage-taking incidents are the highest profile of all their calls, they're not very common. Less than 10% of calls across the country involve a hostage taken against their will. Typical calls include people suffering from depression, mental illness, under the influence of drugs or alcohol or even a change in life status.

"Most of our calls involve situations like a divorce or losing custody of the kids or losing the house. There's a lot of perceived loss. Combine that with a loss of hope and they may have hit rock bottom and feel this is their only course of action," says Deputy Daniel Donohue.
SWAT call where the Crisis Negotiations Team was deployed

While all of these situations can be very difficult and unpredictable, they can be effectively managed through trained negotiators. The team can be instrumental in safely resolving the situation and reducing the chances of injury or loss of life.

"We are a life-saving team. We not only save the subject from taking their life or another person's life by de-escalating the situation, but we also save a deputy from being in a position of having to use their weapon," says Deputy Donohue.
Deputy Macre and Deputy Hernandez negotiate with a 'suspect' during a training exercise

The Crisis Negotiation Team trains together on a regular basis. Once a month, they conduct training exercises which include crisis scenarios and team building. Deputy O'Neill says they're always prepared and ready to deploy on a moment's notice.

"If we can help people, not just the suspect, but everybody, go home safely, we've done our job."


By Deputy Benjamin Sears, Traffic Safety Unit

“Hey I’m walking here!” Yes, it's true. Pedestrians do have the right of way, but there are times when even they must stop and adhere to traffic laws. In February, our Traffic Unit investigated two auto vs. pedestrian crashes within five days of each other in the city of Centennial. In the first one, the pedestrian unfortunately was killed. In the other, they sustained serious bodily injury. Since February, we've investigated 31 more. Across the state, the number of auto vs. pedestrian crashes (including fatal ones) is higher this year than previous years.

Auto vs. bicycle accident in Englewood where ACSO deputies assisted in the investigation

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), as of September 30, there were 87 pedestrian fatalities on Colorado roadways, up from 78 this time last year. Non-fatal pedestrian crashes are up too. Most fatal crashes occur at night.

Deputy Benjamin Sears investigates an auto vs. pedestrian accident in February

One thing to keep in mind, a vehicle travelling at 35 miles per hour can take approximately 55 feet to stop even when the driver hits the brakes hard. So before stepping into the roadway, always make sure vehicles see you and are obviously slowing down before you start to cross. Drivers MUST make sure to yield to pedestrians. We want all of our citizens to safely get from one place to another.

Here's a few more tips:

  • When walking at night, make sure to wear bright-colored clothing or reflective gear. Dark clothing and a dark area makes it very hard to be seen.
  • Make sure the lighting is visible all around you.
  • Even if you have the walk signal at a traffic light, make sure you are easily seen as a vehicle turning may not see you until it is too late.
  • At night, a vehicle’s headlights may not point at someone in the crosswalk until the vehicle is mid-turn. Drivers must be vigilant to the possibility of an obstacle anytime they are driving.
  • Utilize pedestrian warning lights (flashing yellow lights on poles) at crosswalks.
  • At intersections, press the walk button and wait until you have a walk signal.

Lastly, please adhere to this advice if you are ever involved in an auto vs. pedestrian crash:

  1. REMAIN AT THE SCENE. There is a penalty for leaving the scene (even if you weren’t the cause) and you will be in more trouble.
  2. DO NOT MOVE ANY ITEMS FROM THE SCENE. This includes cell phones, shoes, clothing, etc. Leave everything where it came to rest. This is evidence which can assist with the crash investigation.

Click the button below to learn more about Colorado Pedestrian Laws.


Let's talk about safety, protecting our community and how to tackle violent crime. Join us for a virtual discussion with Arapahoe Sheriff Tyler Brown and ATF Denver Special Agent in Charge Brent Beavers. They'll take your questions live on Facebook and YouTube as we discuss issues affecting the world today such as firearm safety, bomb threats, arson and acts of terrorism. Here's some examples of what our citizens want to know:

  • What are you doing to protect houses of worship?
  • Can I buy a gun as a gift for Christmas?
  • What is the ATF's role in terrorism investigations?
  • What should I do if my gun is stolen?

We'll get to as many of your questions as we can. See you on December 4 at 11:00 a.m. MST. Click the button below to follow us on Facebook and join our discussion.


Are you a dog lover looking for a way to give back this Christmas? Back The Blue K-9 Force released its "Doggie Wish List" for police dogs and school therapy dogs. You can choose to:

  • Purchase a doggie gift online;
  • Deliver a gift in person;
  • Make a $20 donation and a K9 stuffie will be given to a child in need; or
  • Make a donation of any amount toward supporting unexpected needs or high-dollar equipment.

Make sure to look for one of our police K9s or therapy dogs on the list. Their names are: Nuke, Voq, Bodhi, Doc, Atlas, Rust, Rex, Zeke, Otis, Bear and Riley. Click the button below to see the doggie wish lists.

Thank you in advance for your support of these hard-working K9s! 💙🖤

ACSO police dogs
ACSO school therapy dogs


Will you join us as we help underprivileged kids in Arapahoe County this Christmas? The Sheriff's Office is partnering with Arapahoe County Human Services for a very special Christmas Toy Drive to make sure kids in our own community receive gifts whose families can't afford them.

We're collecting new, unwrapped toys and gift cards for families in crisis. These are kids are from families who are either experiencing homelessness, undergoing financial hardship, victims of abuse or neglect or are in the foster care system.

You can drop off your donation at our headquarters until December 19. Our address is:

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, 13101 E. Broncos Parkway, Centennial

7:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

Our deputies will personally hand out the toys to the kids right before Christmas. Thank you in advance for your generosity. We can't wait to see the smiles on their faces! 😀

Click the button below for more information on the toy drive, more drop off locations, wish lists for the kids or how to donate online.

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Every year we take the time to recognize and honor the hard work of our deputies, civilians and citizens who save lives, display selfless acts of heroism and put the needs of others first. They are heroes who have displayed amazing courage and it's important for them to know they are seen and appreciated. Here's to every person who received an award and helped make Arapahoe County a safer place.

A huge thank you to our elected officials from Arapahoe County, the City of Centennial and the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office who supported us at our annual banquet and to Lt. Craig Reams for hosting this memorable night. Enjoy the photos and click the button below to see the full list of award recipients.

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Bring the kids!

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Team 5 at the Detention Facility has been celebrating Thanksgiving together for the past few years since most of them have to work on the holiday. These deputies work in the booking/receiving area of the jail and also in the pods. Their supervisor, Sgt. Baker, organizes the potluck and brings the turkey every year. "I know how hard it can be to be away from family on Thanksgiving, so we've made our own tradition. It's a small way to show my team they're appreciated. The best part is we continue to grow and build stronger bonds every year when they do things as a team."