Woodland Park Police Chief Fires Two Officers for Misconduct

Internal Investigations Show Multiple Policies Violated

Trevor Phipps


Before Woodland Park Police Chief Chris Deisler was hired about two years ago, the police department was in turmoil after losing its chief, two commanders and a patrol sergeant.

After he was hired, Deisler promised the community that there would be more transparency within the department, especially when it came to internal investigations of their own officers.


Last month, the chief took a major step towards following through with his promise after firing two officers, following internal investigations showed they both engaged in misconduct in two separate cases. On March 18, former Officer Patrick Vigil “resigned in lieu of termination” and on March 19 former Officer Nathan Humphrey was “terminated for cause.”


According to the internal affairs reports released by the Woodland Park Police Department, separate internal investigations conducted by the agency and third-party entities determined that the two officers had neglected their duties as police officers. The investigations proved that both officers had been “untruthful” while conducting their official police duties.


The investigation into Officer Humphrey came about after an incident that took place last October. According to the internal affairs report, Humphrey responded to three noise complaint calls at a Woodland Park residence on the night of Oct. 10 and the early morning hours of Oct. 11.


On the third time Humphrey responded to the residence, he charged one person with harassment and a noise violation. At the time, Humphrey had wanted to charge the suspect with felony menacing, but he was told by his sergeant that he didn’t have probable cause to file a felony charge.


But after Humphrey viewed a video from the complaining residents that showed what may have been a handgun in the hands of the suspect, the former officer got a warrant himself and made an arrest for felony menacing. An investigation into Humphrey was then opened by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Their inquiry indicated that Humphrey had made untruthful statements to get the arrest warrant, after his sergeant told him there was not sufficient probable cause.


The charges on the suspect were dropped after they were arrested and booked into the Teller County jail. After the investigation, the CBI agent recommended to the District Attorney’s office that charges of official misconduct should be pressed against Humphrey, but the DA’s office chose not to prosecute Humphrey on criminal misdemeanor charges.


The investigation surrounding former Officer Vigil took place after he and another officer responded to a domestic violence call in Woodland Park last February. On Feb. 4, Vigil and another officer responded to a domestic disturbance, but no arrests were made.


The next day, Vigil’s supervisor rejected Vigil’s report and asked him to clarify why he chose not to make an arrest when a law had in fact been violated. Vigil changed the report to say “parties did not pursue charges. But after reviewing body camera footage, Vigil’s supervisor determined that neither Vigil nor the other officer ever asked either party if they wanted to press charges.


The police department then asked a commander with the Manitou Springs Police Department to conduct an internal investigation surrounding Vigil’s actions. During the investigation, Vigil admitted to the commander that the statement he wrote in his report regarding the claim, “did not want to pursue charges,” was not true.


Third-party, internal investigations into both of these cases, recommended that the two officers be terminated due to violating numerous police department policies. According to the Woodland Park Police chief, it is important that police officers be held accountable for their actions and that the public knows when disciplinary actions have been taken.

Partners with the community

“I told you all from day one that I think that one of the major issues that was lacking between the PD and the public was the transparency component,” Deisler said. “What I am trying to do is give citizens back the police department and make them a partner in what we are trying to do. And unless you are transparent and you are willing to tell people the good, bad and the ugly about what’s going on, you don’t get the right type of buy in.”


He said that after holding the reins in the department for two years now, he has made some vast improvements in transparency, and he plans to continue this goal. “Integrity, truthfulness and dedication to service are three of the major components that quality law enforcement officers must have,” Deisler explained. “And they are honestly qualities that are not negotiable with me. If you do not embody the spirit of public service and integrity and value the trust the public places in us to do the work that we do, then quite honestly, I do not need you.”