Steamboat Springs By the end of this month, a former state trooper from Steamboat Springs will be sent to prison to serve a six-year sentence for severely abusing his infant son. Though they say he'll be treated like any other inmate, prison officials admit that Wesley Crider's former standing as a lawman will be taken into consideration as they assess how to keep him safe.
During Crider's sentencing hearing Sept. 1, his attorney, wife and therapist pleaded with District Court Judge Joel Thompson not to send Crider to prison.
According to an arrest warrant, Crider caused "extensive internal devastation" to the head of his then 9-week-old son, Matthew, on the night of Jan. 14. Doctors said the infant was shaken violently.
Crider, 28, received six years in prison for child abuse and a seventh year for violating a restraining order by contacting his wife after his arrest.
Crider's attorney, Norm Townsend, argued that his client should have received three years at a community corrections program and then 10 years of probation rather than a prison sentence.
A major point in Townsend's argument was that Crider will not be safe among the state's prison population because he's an ex-trooper.
Crider's wife, Jacquelyn, also pleaded with Thompson not to send the father of her two boys to prison. Instead, Jacquelyn asked Thompson to give her husband probation.
"I do not want him to go to prison for his safety, because he is an ex-cop," she said.
Dr. John Burke, Crider's psychologist, asked that the judge give Crider a sentence that would allow him to rehabilitate outside of a prison setting.
Crider "is not a danger to society," Burke said. "He is a very good candidate for rehabilitation.
"In prison, he would be a target of violence from others."
Christy Gonzales, a DOC public information officer, said there are procedures in place to protect all inmates.
"Each offender is reviewed and then their placement is based upon their safety and security," she said.
Where Crider will go will depend on his evaluation at the DOC's Diagnostic Center in Denver, she said.
"We open up everything that we possibly can to determine what facility and what security level an offender should be placed at," she said. "We look into work history, criminal behavior, gang activity and anything else that is important."
Right now, Crider is in the Routt County Jail.
"We have him in a secure place," said Lt. Fred Johnston. "He is treated like any other inmate. He does not have any special privileges or any precautions."
During Johnston's career, he has heard stories of what has happened to former law enforcement officers in prison, he said.
"I don't have much experience with that," he added. "So I don't know. We will identify to the DOC that he is an ex-law enforcement officer. I'm sure they will take the necessary precautions."
Although Crider will be identified to DOC officials as an ex-officer, that won't matter much to the corrections department, Gonzales said.
"Just because someone was a law enforcement official does not mean they are treated different," she said. "They are treated the same as every other offender."
However, if a problem should arise, the DOC has steps it can take to protect an inmate.
"We have 24 state-operated facilities and four private ones in Colorado," she said. "We have the flexibility to move an offender in order to protect safety."