Patrick Firman

Denver Sheriff Patrick Firman addressing reporters in 2015 at the Denver City and County Building.

When the October announcement was made that Denver Sheriff Patrick Firman would be stepping down from his post, Mayor Michael Hancock’s press release left out the fact that he’d be appointing Firman to a new position the next morning.

But that's not unusual, said Mike Strott, spokesman for the mayor's office.

"We just don't generally do announcements for the mayor's office staff," he said. "It really depends on the position."  

In Firman's new strategy position, at a salary of $160,000, the former sheriff works with various city departments to use data that helps first responders identify areas in need of public safety, spokeswoman Theresa Marchetta said in a statement. News of the move was first reported by The Denver Post.

“One of Patrick Firman’s accomplishments as sheriff was his work around innovation and utilization of complex data to measure reforms,” she said. “We have a number of initiatives, like Denver’s Opportunity Index and other cross agency needs that rely on successful measurement, smart deployment of technology and creation of a central data hub.”

As head of the Denver jail system for four years, Firman made about $35,000 more annually before abruptly stepping down after losing the confidence of city leaders, some of his own employees and community activists.

He is replaced in the interim by the department’s professional standards director, Fran Gomez — now the city’s first female sheriff — while the search is on for Firman’s replacement.

Meanwhile, Denver City Council is considering a proposal to amend the city charter and allow voters to elect the county’s sheriff, a policy widespread throughout the state.

Mayor Michael Hancock’s office said in a written statement to KMGH-Denver7 that it had not received a proposal, but maintained the position that “public safety agencies are led by a police chief, a fire chief and a sheriff, and it seems unnecessary to elect one of them.”

“Making the difficult and important job of managing our jails even more difficult by politicizing the office instead of focusing on good management could lead to dysfunction,” the email statement said.

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