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Sheriff Mikesell: A success story

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Jason Mikesell - COURTESY TELLER COUNTY
  • Courtesy Teller County
  • Jason Mikesell

Jason Mikesell grew up in Teller County and started as a “very rookie patrol deputy” in Park County, he told the Ute Country News in 2017, and in 19 years, rose from dog catcher to top dog in the Sheriff’s Office.

In the late 1990s, he joined the Teller County Sheriff’s Office as an animal control officer and climbed to commander. In that role, his duties included overseeing the jail and its policies. He was in charge of jail policies in 2015 when jailers allegedly sexually harassed and assaulted female inmates, leading to a lawsuit in 2016. (The case has since been settled, with the county’s insurance carrier paying a total of $82,500 to three plaintiffs.)

Ready for a change, in April 2016, Mikesell retired and turned to the private sector.

Two months later, in June 2016, he launched Thunder Mountain Security Solutions LLC and iXero LLC. It was his second stab at entrepreneurship, having stood up Thunder Mountain Tactical in 2008, though he shut it down in 2011, public records show.

By spring 2017, Mikesell had a change of heart and filed as a Teller County sheriff candidate for the 2018 election. However, in April 2017, he formed four additional companies, records show: iXero Training, iXero Security, iXero Productions and iXero Facilities, listing iXero LLC as the registered agent and Mikesell’s home address as the companies’ headquarters.

A month later, he was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Sheriff Mike Ensminger, who had resigned to take a job with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Mikesell told the Ute Country News his goal as sheriff was to focus on “improving our sense of community,” and to do that, he hired experienced personnel, such as Undersheriff John Gomes and jail Commander Stan Bishop, both with 35 years in law enforcement, and Commander Greg Couch, with 20 years.

Mikesell drew headlines in 2018 and 2019 when the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado challenged his placing holds on undocumented immigrants for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a move Colorado judges previously deemed illegal. The case was later dismissed by mutual agreement when Mikesell entered into an arrangement with ICE to use his jail as a holding pen for people ICE requested be detained, after his staff was trained to interrogate and serve arrest warrants for immigration violations.

Mikesell ran unopposed in the 2018 election but still raised about $3,600 in campaign donations. His biggest expenditure came on Nov. 6, 2018 — Election Day — when he spent $1,097 for an “election thank you dinner” at the Swiss Chalet Restaurant.

In the run-up to the election, the sheriff set up two new businesses — 1776 Enterprises and Thunder Mountain Outcomes.

The month after the election, Thunder Mountain Outcomes bought a commercial building in Woodland Park for $425,000. A different entity controlled by him and his wife, Pamela, bought another commercial property in Woodland Park for $250,000 in May 2019. In November, the couple closed on an $825,000 home on 8 acres north of Woodland Park. Their other home, on the north side of Woodland Park, is on the market for $475,000.

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