Former Mancos Marshal John Cox, who faces a DUI charge after hitting a guardrail this month, was convicted in a DUI case in Indiana several years before joining the Mancos force.
It appears that he got the job at the “Gateway to Mesa Verde” without a background check.
Late Friday, Mancos Town Administrator Andrea Phillips confirmed that Cox was hired as a deputy marshal in August 2012 and promoted to marshal in March 2013, before she joined the town’s payroll. She said there were no records in Cox’s personnel file indicating that a criminal background check had been conducted.
“I learned about a 2009 DUI case after I was hired,” said Phillips.
On Sept. 26, 2009, Cox was charged with DUI after driving through a sobriety checkpoint in Franklin, Ind., a spokesperson at the Johnson County prosecutor’s office in Indiana said on Friday. Cox was convicted just four days later, the spokesperson added.
On Nov. 10, Cox was again charged with DUI. The Colorado State Patrol ticketed Cox for the offense after he crashed his vehicle on U.S. Highway 160 in La Plata County. He was released to a sober driver, according to authorities.
Todd Risberg, district attorney for the 6th Judicial District, told The Journal on Friday that the Colorado State Patrol had yet to file its case against Cox in La Plata County Court, and he was unsure when Cox would make an initial appearance.
Colorado statute requires a person with a previous DUI conviction who is charged with another DUI to be placed on pretrial services. Because Cox hasn’t appeared in court, Risberg said, bond conditions such as pretrial services haven’t been imposed.
Asked if he was aware of Cox’s 2009 DUI conviction, Risberg replied that he had yet to review the case file. He added that he would be unable to comment on a pending criminal matter.
Cox also faces six misdemeanor charges in Montezuma County including perjury, false reporting to authorities and official misconduct.
In separate incidents in August and September, a Colorado Bureau of Investigations probe revealed that Cox reportedly conducted a personal investigation of a romantic rival and fabricated a speeding ticket.
In a 19-page report, a CBI agent noted that Cox denied any criminal wrongdoing, but he indicated that he was having personal issues.
According to media outlets in Indianapolis, Cox had been working as a police chief for a Johnson County school system for seven months when he was arrested on the 2009 DUI charge. Empty bottles of alcohol were reportedly found inside Cox’s vehicle, and his blood alcohol content registered at .09 percent.
Cox has also previously worked for police departments in Fishers, Ind., and Key West, Fla.
On Nov. 4, Mancos officials placed Cox on paid administrative leave. He resigned as marshal on Nov. 16.
“This has been an eye-opening experience,” Phillips said.
Moving forward, Phillips said town officials would review its hiring process and vowed that additional screening measures, including background checks, would be instituted before hiring a new marshal.
Jason Spruell is currently serving as interim marshal.