Former Mancos Marshal John Cox will be charged with six misdemeanors including perjury and misconduct, Montezuma County District Attorney Will Furse said in a statement Tuesday.
Cox resigned Monday. He had been on paid administrative leave since Nov. 4, and he faces a DUI case originating on Nov. 10.
The charges are one count of second-degree perjury, one count of providing false information to authorities, one count of unauthorized computer access, one count of first-degree official misconduct and two counts of second-degree official misconduct for two incidents in August and September, according to Furse.
According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation master report, a criminal complaint against Cox was filed by deputy marshal Yvonne McClellan on Oct. 13.
McClellan told CBI agent Jeff Brown that Cox had asked her and fellow deputy marshal Jason Spruell to run the license plates on all dual white pickups in town, as he was conducting a personal investigation on a romantic rival.
McClellan also reported a separate incident, wherein an on-duty Cox, was giving McClellan – who was off-duty at the time – a ride to Cortez to pick up her personal vehicle. While stopping for coffee on the way to Cortez, Cox saw a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed. The report says Cox took off after the vehicle, and without using any radar equipment, cited the driver a ticket for traveling 45 in a 20 mph zone. Cox also reportedly doubled the fine as it was a school zone.
Cox resigned on Monday, and the Mancos Town Board voted unanimously to accept it at a special meeting that night.
Cox was placed on paid administrative leave on Nov. 4, before the investigation was made public, in what the Mancos Town Administrator Andrea Phillips has called a “personnel matter.” She has declined to comment further.
In a separate case, Cox faces a DUI charge after crashing his vehicle into a guardrail on U.S. Highway 160 in La Plata County on Nov. 10.
During Monday night’s special meeting, the Mancos Town Board appointed deputy Jason Spruell as interim marshal, and voted to advertise as soon as possible for a marshal and a deputy.
Spruell, a former Montezuma County Sheriff’s deputy and son of former Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell’s, has served as a Mancos marshal’s deputy since April.
When asked why Spruell was appointed as interim marshal over deputy McClellan, who has been with the department longer, Phillips said the town “felt like it was the best fit.”
The Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office is providing backup coverage for Mancos, and Cox’s equipment was collected to ensure that he cannot act as an officer.
Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin met with Phillips on Tuesday to discuss law-enforcement concerns in the rural community. After the meeting, Nowlin told The Journal that the sheriff’s office had agreed to help cover shifts until a marshal and deputy were hired. Nowlin added that the sheriff’s office hadn’t been contracted to resume all law enforcement duties for the township.
Interim town marshal Spruell previously worked as a patrol commander for the sheriff’s office. When Nowlin took office in January, he required all division supervisors be retested. Spruell was subsequently demoted, Nowlin said.
“(Spruell) was going to be reassigned in patrol, and right about the same time he submitted his resignation,” Nowlin said.
Less than a week after Cox was placed on paid leave for the personnel matter, the Colorado State Patrol reported that he was under the influence of alcohol when his personal vehicle crashed into a guardrail on U.S. Highway 160.
Colorado State Patrol Capt. Adrian Driscoll said officers responded to the crash Nov. 10 at 11:12 p.m. near the Cherry Creek exit, about 8 miles east of Mancos in La Plata County. Cox was off-duty at the time.
“Following the crash, officers determined that Cox was under the influence of alcohol, and he did submit to a chemical test,” said state patrol.
Driscoll declined to provide the results of the test. Cox was released to a sober party and was not booked into the La Plata County jail.
Asked to comment on Cox as a lawman, Nowlin described him as a community-oriented officer that was always willing to assist with an investigation.
“I never saw anything inappropriate,” Nowlin said.
A former Colorado State Patrol investigator, Nowlin was also asked if it was usual for state police to release intoxicated drivers involved in automobile accidents to a sober driver.
“It’s common if they are local residents,” Nowlin replied, citing the sheriff’s office also utilizes the practice. “There’s no need for them to post a bond if they are local.”