Written by Deric Wynn, Denver Sheriffs Department (DSD) Captain – April 2021.

From beginning to end, the Denver Peak Academy training & mission statement aims to train and develop employees at all levels to improve the way government works.
Through innovation, employees do more with less and enhance the Denver City experience.
In my experience, many organizations’ mission statements are put on paper and publicized but rarely followed or believed by the organization’s employees, which is not the case with The Denver Peak Academy. The training is incredible, and the Peak Academy staff is terrific.

During my weeklong training, I met some knowledgeable individuals and enjoyed working in new & dynamic workgroups. It may sound silly. However, everything that I learned and practiced in the Peak-Training has a purpose and intent.
The Peak Academy Training is like a strong cement reinforced foundation that even comes with a warranty. This foundation enables you to start your project on solid ground, hence the Denver Peak Academy’s value.

My warranty is the Peak Academy team (Nathaniel Bradley III, Drew Brown, Jerraud Coleman, Katie McCune, Andy Rees, Melissa Wiley, and Megan Williams). But wait, “it even gets better,” you get an extended warranty, and my extended warranty is Jerraud Coleman.

When you attend the Peak Academy Black Belt training, everyone gets an extended warranty. My extended warranty happens to be Jerraud Coleman, who has encouraged me, been an inspirational leader, and has been with me through my entire projects.
I was able to call him, ask questions, and be reminded of helpful ideas taught in the Peak Academy when I was stuck.
My original project and presentation in the black belt training were to get current on our processing of sealed records in the Denver Sheriff Department Civil Liabilities Unit.

At the time of my presentation, the Civil Liabilities Unit was well over 1000 requests behind regarding sealed records. Because of the Peak Academy Training, we were able to identify the problem.
We used the resources available. With our team’s cooperation and the implementation of our plan, we successfully achieved our goal of having all of the requested court-ordered sealed records up-to-date and processed daily within our three-month program.

Some of the tools we used to make our wildly important goal possible were writing down our goals on sticky notes and identifying why the change was needed.
Improvements could not have been achieved without the team’s hard work and dedication, primarily Sergeant James Benvenuti.
As our team moved forward through our project, we were able to identify another area needing improvement within the Civil Liabilities Unit.

The processing of the requested Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) and Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act (CCJRA) needed serious help. At the time, our current process was to receive the request via mail, email, telephone call, or letter sent in by U.S. mail. The problem was not receiving the proposals. It was how we were managing the documents and processing each request. With only two individuals doing the five deputies’ work, we needed to develop ideas and recommendations to streamline our process, requiring help from other city providers and city agencies.
Using the Denver Peak Academy methods & tools, such as “if we, then we” and other excellent exercises taught, we were able to identify and remove process barriers.

Throughout the training, we were able, as a team, to collaborate with TS, Denver Police Civil Liabilities, Sheriff Finance, and the Denver Sheriff Data and Technology unit. We created a webpage for the Civil Liabilities Unit that would document the time it is received, send a notification to the client of the received requests, collect the fee charged for the requested documentation, and assign a case number/person working on the requested documents.
It took months of planning, meetings, and testing to improve the webpage. This beast’s creation started with Sergeant Rolando but exploded into a fantastic team effort.

With the Peak method, we worked as one team towards one goal to accomplish one shared result & outcome.
There was frustration, and without the constant motivation from Jerraud Coleman and encouragement, I believe we may not have completed our project. I was kidding about the completion. We would have gotten there, but it sure was nice to have Jerraud (our Peak liaison) as a resource and motivator.

The best way to explain my opinion of the Peak Academy training and training staff is, “you never know what’s possible with limited resources, limited budgets, and limited staff until you try to accomplish what everyone tells you is impossible.”
However, not the Peak Academy staff; they make you believe in the possibility.
The web page created for the Civil Liabilities Unit saved a tremendous amount of money. Simply speaking, the City would have paid a private corporation millions of dollars to develop what the combined city organizations did through hard work, collaboration, & dedication.

Our team of Sergeant Gary Rolando, Sergeant Daniel Lusk, Sergeant James Benvenuti, Sergeant Tony Gehring, Tessa Clark, the City’s T.S. department, Denver Police Civil Liabilities Dikran Kushdilian, Elizabeth Friend and her staff, and many others that I may have forgotten to mention, made this happen.
The improved webpage (innovation) is up and running. But, there have been some minor adjustments. Plus, we are continuously improving the webpage to make it better – Kaizen.
I am no longer the assigned Captain for the Civil Liabilities Unit, but I am proud of what we accomplished and the team we created to achieve our goal. I end with a quote from Walt Disney, “the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

P.S. I haven’t forgotten my coffee with Emily. She is my Peak Academy friend. I am busy & postponed at the moment due to COVID. You will have to sign up for the Peak Academy to find out what the coffee & friend activity is.

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