Elias Diggins will lead the Denver Sheriff Department, according to a source who wished to remain anonymous for this story. Mayor Michael Hancock is expected to formally announce his appointment at a press conference Monday at 11 a.m.
Diggins will step in after Patrick Firman left the department in October 2019. Firman oversaw a contentious overhaul of the way the department manages jails and its use-of-force policy, but his tenure included several high-profile incidents that garnered national attention, including one in which a woman gave birth in a jail cell unassisted. The day after Firman resigned, he began a job as a data analyst in Hancock’s office.
Diggins has held various roles in the sheriffs department since joining in 1994, including chief of operations and interim sheriff. In 2018, he helped soften a DSD policy that banned inmates from touching visitors. In 2017, an inmate sued Diggins, who was then interim sheriff, and six other deputies and supervisors alleging they hid evidence that showed the inmate had been “paraded” naked around Denver Health, according to the Denver Post.
“More than ever before, the new sheriff needed to be someone who understood first-hand what it means to get a second chance. Someone who has formulated plans, inspired by their own challenges and experiences, to continue to transform and improve the sheriff department,” Mayor Hancock said during today’s announcement. “Respected in the department and in the community, Elias has proven to be that kind of leader, and I look forward to working alongside him as our next sheriff.”
This story is developing and will be updated.