MCSO Accepting Citizens’ Academy Applications

Montrose, COLO.—The application period is now open for the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office Citizens’ Academy. The academy starts Wednesday, Oct. 6, and will continue for 12 weeks with a graduation ceremony on Dec. 29, 2021.

“The academy offers an inside look into the world of law enforcement and the hard work that deputies and staff perform every day while serving and protecting our community,” said Sergeant Steve Gustin. “Participants will gain knowledge of procedures, policies, and information on supporting agencies including both dispatch and the posse.”

The classes will be held for 12 weeks, every Wednesday, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Training will take place at the MCSO—1200 North Grand Avenue—in the conference room.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age to attend. The comprehensive instruction will cover a wide variety of law enforcement issues each week including the following: Sheriff’s Posse, Traffic Stops, DUI Investigation, Response to Resistance, Investigations, Crime Scene and Evidence Collection, Less Lethal, Records & Civil Process, Reception, Victim Services, Procurement, Peer Support, Drug Investigations, Recruitment and Hiring, Field Training Program, K9, SWAT, WestCo Dispatch, and Detentions.

Applications are available online or in person at the MCSO (1200 North Grand) during regular business hours. For more information, please contact Sergeant Gustin at 970-252-4023 or


Information Release

Montrose, COLO.–On Friday, Aug. 13, in the early evening a 62-year-old female was involved in a motor vehicle accident in the 12000 block of 6450 Road. She was transported to Montrose Memorial Hospital and shortly after succumbed to her injuries. She was later identified as Graciela Vargas of Montrose, Colo. The case is currently under investigation by the Colorado State Patrol and the Montrose County Coroner’s Office of Medical Investigation. The cause and manner of death are pending the results of an autopsy.

Rick Fellabaum, Chief Medical Investigator
Montrose County Coroner’s Office

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Beginning in Montrose County

Montrose, COLO.—The unincorporated area of Montrose County will be in stage 1 fire restrictions beginning Monday, June 21. Seasonal high temperatures, worsening dry conditions, and the heightening planning level of wildfire resources were the deciding factors to take this precautionary measure. Additionally, there have been a handful of unattended campfires reported this year.

“We are in a severe drought and measures need to be taken to keep our public lands and community safe,” said Sheriff Lillard. “This is the smart and responsible thing to do for our community. We are continuing to meet with federal land and regional partners to monitor conditions. We appreciate the public’s help in taking measures to prevent wildfires in our area.”

The restrictions apply to the unincorporated county area and do not include the City of Montrose, Town of Olathe, Town of Naturita, and Town of Nucla. The stage 1 fire restrictions do not allow open burning of any kind to include agricultural burning, open campfires, and fireworks. Smoking cigarettes outdoors is not allowed, unless in an enclosed vehicle or building or in a developed recreation site. Campfires in a pre-approved campground, State Park/KOA, or enclosed fire pits are permitted. As a reminder, fireworks on publicly managed lands are prohibited.

Please be advised that penalties for violating the fire ban include: Class-2 petty offense with fines ranging from $100 to $500 depending on the number of offenses. If a fire causes damage to another individual’s property, additional criminal charges may apply. These fire restrictions will remain in effect until further notice.

FBI, MCSO, and MPD Teamwork Leads to Attempted Murderer Arrest

Montrose, COLO.—Today the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), Federal Bureau of Investigation, Montrose Police Department, MCSO High Impact Target Team, and Seventh Judicial Task Force executed an operation that led to the arrest of an individual wanted for attempted murder out of Las Vegas, Nev. Late yesterday, the FBI contacted local authorities with information that Gilfredo Morga-Mendoza was in Montrose County in the 53000 block of Falcon Road. Morga-Mendoza was wanted on a warrant out of Las Vegas for attempted murder charges.

“This is the perfect example of federal and local collaboration to apprehend a potentially armed and dangerous suspect who is wanted for two counts of attempted murder in another area,” said Undersheriff George Jackson. “The suspect was taken into custody without incident. This inter-agency operation highlighted teamwork, high-paced preparation, and good communication. Sheriff Lillard and Chief Hall have worked hard to create synergy between the MCSO and MPD, and today’s operation showcased how seamless these agencies work together to help protect our community.”

Morga-Mendoza is being held in the Montrose County Detention Center on a no bond warrant and is awaiting a hearing for extradition to Nevada.


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