Ex-undersheriff admits to forging training records in Adams County

Scheme involved former sheriff and division chief

A former undersheriff of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges for his involvement in a scheme to falsify training records and claim credit for state-mandated law enforcement training that he did not complete. Thomas McLallen admitted to one count of second-degree forgery and one count of first-degree official misconduct in Denver District Court on Friday.

McLallen was one of three former executive leaders at the Adams County Sheriff’s Office who were charged in connection with the fraud scheme. The other two are former sheriff Richard Reigenborn and former division chief Michael Bethel, who are facing felony counts of forgery, attempt to influence a public servant, conspiracy to commit forgery and conspiracy to attempt to influence a public servant. Their cases are pending in Denver District Court.

According to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, McLallen signed training rosters for classes he did not attend and submitted training certificates to Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) to be counted toward his 2021 mandatory annual training hours. Colorado peace officers must complete 24 hours of annual in-service training, including at least 12 hours of skills training in arrest control, driving and firearms.

McLallen sentenced to probation and apology letter

As part of his plea agreement, McLallen was sentenced to serve 24 months in supervised probation and also ordered to write a letter of apology to employees of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. He also agreed to relinquish his state peace officer certification, preventing him from serving as a Colorado peace officer. Additionally, the agreement stipulates he must cooperate with prosecutors and be available to testify in any co-defendant’s cases.

Adams County

“We are committed to law enforcement integrity and taking seriously steps to undermine our state’s training system,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser in a press release. “This action advances that work and makes clear the obligations of law enforcement officers to engage in training in an appropriate manner.”

Scheme exposed by whistleblower complaint

The scheme was exposed by a whistleblower complaint filed by a former Adams County deputy in 2021. The complaint alleged that Reigenborn, Bethel and McLallen had falsified training records and instructed other deputies to do the same. The complaint also claimed that Reigenborn had threatened to fire anyone who reported the fraud.

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office launched an investigation into the allegations and found evidence of widespread falsification of training records at the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation revealed that Reigenborn, Bethel and McLallen had created fraudulent records of training that they did not attend or complete, and had instructed other deputies to sign rosters for classes they did not take.

The investigation also found that Reigenborn had used his position as sheriff to influence the hiring and promotion of his friends and family members, and had retaliated against deputies who questioned his actions. Reigenborn resigned as sheriff in December 2021, after serving for two years. He was replaced by interim sheriff Randy Bish, who vowed to restore trust and accountability in the department.

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