Yet the statement presented at the press conference did more than simply omit mention of the affidavit. Contacted recently about other incorrect assertions made in that document, Shrader explained that he'd been "tasked to helping out" with Columbine matters from his assignment in the detention division and was not as familiar with the underlying issues as others at the meeting.

"It's a long time ago," he says. "I was able to help draft a press release. I don't know what ultimately went out in the press release. I presume there was some executive level of review. I only took the information that people had said in that meeting and conveyed it in a document. I didn't have time to investigate it."

But anyone who'd read the Guerra affidavit, Brown responds, would know that many of the statements made by Davis and others at the press conference were untrue. "He either knew what was going on and kept secrets," Brown says of Shrader, "or if he didn't know what was going on, he's not smart enough to be sheriff."

Shortly after the Columbine shootings, Shrader was promoted to division chief. He's now in charge of special projects; he's also been involved in forums to address juvenile violence, helped lead the agency's community-outreach and decentralization efforts, and spearheaded development of what he calls a "command accountability model." Dealing with the tragedy of Columbine, he says, has helped to make school safety one of the priorities of his campaign.

"I think we're growing," he says of the sheriff's office. "Our training is better. We're certainly not perfect people. I'm not a perfect individual, but I'm going to work hard."

Several years ago, not long after the grand jury's report was released, Shrader met with Randy Brown to discuss his role in the secret meeting. The two have different recollections of that conversation. Shrader says he was under the impression that any dispute between him and Brown had been resolved.

Brown disagrees. "He was not apologetic," he says. "He made no attempt to understand anything. He's had fourteen years to tell the truth about that meeting and the other meetings. He has remained silent."

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Karen Trujillo
Karen Trujillo

More secrets surrounding the shooting than mentioned...maybe, by others (top names) in the case. When there's remaining secrets (ie., in a vault for however long), how can this be discussed. If it's a problem find a new candidate.


A fresh face is what that the dept desperately needs . Otherwise you are allowing the existing corruption to flourish .


Chief Shrader is NOT what is needed to head  JCSO. As a 24 year veteran deputy of the department I believe what is needed is a qualified  outside the department candidate to run.  Deputies with in the department have not had ANY significant pay raises in the entire time Sheriff Mink has been in charge. In fact the level of pay for the JCSO in line deputies is in the bottom 1/4th salary levels of ALL Colorado law enforcement agencies while Jeffco enjoys one of the top three highest tax bases of all counties in the state. Oh there was one raise of 2% during Mink's tenure but then the County Commissioners took back a 1% retirement pay match that same year resulting in an effective 1% raise. All this while the employees of JCSO had to endure a 12% increase in health insurance costs. So far Chief Shrader has not expressed any concerns on the poor salary packages for employees of the Sheriff's Office. And let's not forget that new deputies hired recently (within the last 5 years) have been lied to by command staff, which includes Chief Shrader, in that they have not received their scheduled step in pay grade increases as described and portrayed in their hiring packages. There are many issues that the public is not aware of within the department. Hopefully during the campaign these issues will surface so that the public can make a better choice than Chief Shrader.


Had then-Lieutenant Shrader blown the whistle concerning Jefferson County's cover-up of its gross negligence in its handling of Klebold and Harris prior to the massacre, or its response to the massacre, he would have been ostracized, then crucified, by his fellow officers and commanders. 

Once unjustly terminated in retaliation on a pretext of the kind in which cowardly "public safety" bureaucrats specialize, he would have faced hostile judges and politicians closely associated with those complicit in the continuing cover-up. 

In short, his career would have been destroyed, and he would have been hard pressed to seek redress in court.

Even were he successful in getting his case past summary judgment to trial, and persuading a jury to find in his favor, he might well endure the outrage, as has happened previously in Colorado [See "Blackburned", Westword, December 13, 2007, below] of a federal judge wiping his behind with the verdict as a favor to his political allies, unlawfully granting a new trial, and conspiring with Shrader's adversaries to drive Shrader's attorney from the bar on the basis of fraudulent ethics charges.

Like most such public servants, Shrader probably understood this very well, and therefore went along to get along. Doing so has obviously served him well.

Unless and until we live in a perfect world, in which moral courage is routinely rewarded, instead of punished, people such as Shrader will be the only kind who succeed in government.


@Juan_Leg  To his considerable credit, Mayor Hancock recognized this in hiring Chief White, who may not be perfect, but is a breath of fresh air after a long line of chiefs all too happy to preserve the status quo. At the same time, the efforts of Alex Martinez as Director of Public Safety to gut the due process rights of cops and firefighters to make them even more subject to the whim of managers who have repeatedly demonstrated their unfitness to run either department, and therefore more likely to fall into line on whatever serves the political interests of the powers-that-be, on the pretext of weird decisions by Hearing Officers that are no more weird than decisions lapdog Hearing Officers used to make to please the Unions or the City, is as wrong and counterproductive as it could possibly be.  It's downright shameful on the part of a former judge, who should know better, but is, as when he was in the courts, above all a political animal.