Sheriff Ted Mink
After spending his first six years in Texas, Ted Mink’s family relocated to Westminster, Colorado. Upon graduating from high school, Mink earned a degree in Social Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado in 1972 where he was a member of the defensive line on the football team. It was at the university in Greeley that he met Carla, his wife-to-be, during his freshman year; they were married two years later in 1971.
Mink is also a graduate of the Northwestern University Senior Police Management Institute in 1992.
He began his career in law enforcement in 1973 with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, moving on to the Arvada Police Department where he spent nearly 30 years as an officer, investigator, sergeant, lieutenant, commander and deputy chief. In 1995 he was instrumental in forming the West Metro Drug Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional team built to combat drug-related crime in and around Jefferson County. Mink was well known for his role on “cop Talk,” the department’s monthly television program, where his “Punk of the Month” segment resulted in the arrest of nearly 70 percent of suspects featured.
Mink served for six months as undersheriff of Jefferson County before his appointment to sheriff in July of 2003, filling the vacancy created by Sheriff Russ Cook’s resignation for medical issues. In November of 2004 he was elected to fill the position for a four-year term. He was re-elected two times. Term limits will require his retirement in 2016.
Mink has focused on community partnerships, implementing a wide variety of community-oriented policing programs such as SMART Jeffco, a proactive approach to solving crime and quality-of-life problems.
Other major initiatives under Mink’s direction include:
- Opening a precinct office in 2005 for south Jeffco, the county’s most populous area.
- Bolstering the department’s crime prevention team.
- Targeting high-accident areas and school zones for traffic education and enforcement, resulting in a 44 percent reduction in accidents county-wide from 2005-2009.
- Creating a cold-case unit in 2005 that started with 50 unsolved murders. 13 of those cases have now been closed with the killers either behind bars, or had passed away before they were identified.
- Overhauling suicide-prevention procedures in the Jefferson County Jail, resulting in a drop in deaths of inmates in custody.
- Bringing a DNA expert to the department’s crime lab, speeding up the investigative process and ensuring more thorough analysis of evidence in a wider variety of cases.
- Establishing an online sex-offender map and crime map, ensuring that any county resident can stay informed about crime and potentially dangerous person in his/her neighborhood.
- Introducing the community-oriented government model to Jefferson County government agencies – a push for better communication and enhanced services for citizens.
- Receiving six accreditations for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
As sheriff, Mink is responsible for operating the largest sheriff’s department in the state. He oversees 820 full-time employees representing 28.5 percent of all county employees and a budget of $90.6 million, 19.4 percent of the county budget.
He has 36 full-time investigators and three precincts: South Jeffco, the Mountain Precinct located in Evergreen, and headquarters at the County Jail. The sheriff is also in charge of wildfire management and prevention.
At a cost of $35 million annually, the jail houses an average of 1,300 inmates on a daily basis, a small community in itself requiring three meals/day, seven days/week (1.5 million meals each year); laundry services; and medical care. The jail, designed by Evergreen architect Michael Jacoby and built in 1987, was “cutting edge” at the time it was constructed. The Direct-supervision design of the jail allows staff members to supervise large numbers of inmates effectively.
New funding in 2013 will allow replacement of certain infrastructure, the implementation of video visitations and video arraignment, expansion of the evidence vault and creation of a regional forensic lab.
“He’s a deputy’s sheriff – like a player’s coach,” says public information officer Mark Techmeyer , “who has great respect from the ranks. He has high standards, but not ones that can’t be met.” Techmeyer explained that deputies feel they don’t want to disappoint the boss. “He’s walked the walk, done every kind of policing to include undercover work. He understands. He knows, listens.”
Although deputies are expected to follow the chain of command, any deputy can walk into Mink’s office to see him, according to Techmeyer.
Mink is described as being on the job by 5:30 each morning, in time for 6:15 and 6:30 video briefings with the staff at the outlying precincts, projecting his light-hearted personality. He’s often still on the job well into the evening responding to requests for speaking engagements.
During his first term he made a huge impact by changing the color of patrol cars from all white to black and white, increasing visibility and reducing crime. It proved to be a strategically smart move; other cities in Jefferson County have followed suit.
Acquisition of a 33-foot-long mobile Command Center in 2011, used on big-scale events, was the result of allocation of 911 funds as well as some county dollars – “not a huge taxpayer expense,” according to Mink. The state-of-the-art vehicle was put into service at the Lower North Fork Fire in 2012 and is often on display at public events for tours when not in use.
Of all the cases the department is constantly investigating, a few during Mink’s tenure stand out as notable and recognizable from a citizen’s standpoint.
1. The shooting at Deer Creek Middle School (April 7, 2010)
2. The shooting at Platte Canyon School (September 27, 2006) when the SWAT team was used to rescue the hostages.
3. The bomb scare at Southwest Plaza, which occurred on the 12th anniversary (April 20, 2011) of the Columbine shooting, generating a nationwide manhunt.
Mink and his wife live in South Evergreen.
Sources: Interview with Sheriff Mink and Mark Techmeyer, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department website, LDVusa website; Wikipedia