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Arrested former Colorado sheriff held in jail that bears his name

December 7, 2011 |  7:55 am

In a case full of strange details, this one was a doozy: When former Colorado Sheriff Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. was arrested last week, he was held in the Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility.

Once named the nation’s sheriff of the year, Sullivan is accused of trying to trade methamphetamine for sex with another man. The charges stunned Arapahoe County, where Sullivan was elected sheriff five times and earned a reputation as a tough-as-nails lawman. He also served on a statewide meth task force.

Since his arrest, the Denver Post has reported that Sullivan had been associating with young men battling meth addiction, including one whom he tried to bail out of the Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility in September.

Sullivan threatened to file a complaint if the man wasn’t released immediately, the paper said, citing court documents. When a deputy asked Sullivan his name, he allegedly replied: “Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. I'm the man this building is named after.”

It’s not uncommon for cities to name buildings for local legends while they're still alive. Nicknamed “Hollywood Pat,” Sullivan seemed tailor-made for such an honor. In 1989, he rescued a wounded deputy who was under fire, the Post said. His escape –- driving backward through a fence -– was captured on TV.

Hi arrest has stunned local authorities and others.   

 "It's like an April Fools' joke or something, but it's not April 1," former Boulder County Sheriff George Epp told the paper.

This week, local officials announced they would reconsider Arapahoe County’s naming policy, the Associated Press reported. It’s likely that, in the future, no buildings, parks or streets will bear the name of anyone who’s able to attend the ribbon-cutting.


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Photo: Former Arapahoe County Sheriff Patrick Sullivan, with his attorney Jessica Schmidt, appears in Arapahoe County Court on Monday. Sullivan's bail was reduced from $500,000 to $50,000 in a case accusing him of offering meth to a man in exchange for sex. Credit: RJ Sangosti Denver Post / pool