Colorado Bureau of Investigation launches sex offender sting in honor of fallen officer

Douglas, Elbert county SWAT teams part of Limon response

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The Colorado Bureau of Investigation dedicated a sex offender operation in honor of a fallen Limon officer who died while attempting to serve an arrest warrant on a man who failed to register as a sex offender.

The Feb. 2 sting was dubbed “Operation J-Bird,” named after late Limon Police Officer Jay Sheridan, who was killed in the line of duty. Sheridan was known by his fellow officers as “J-Bird” and was a six-year veteran of the Limon Police Department.

Sheridan died on March 9, 2011, while attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Dennis Hasty. Hasty was a sex offender out of Tennessee who failed to register as a sex offender when he relocated to Colorado.

Sheridan was among three officers who attempted to serve a fugitive arrest warrant to Hasty at the Wagon Wheel Trailer Park in Lincoln County. Hasty shot and killed Sheridan and barricaded himself inside the trailer home, taking the other officers hostage for several hours.

Members of the Douglas and Elbert county SWAT teams responded, negotiating Hasty’s surrender until around 10:40 p.m., when SWAT team officers entered the trailer home to find Hasty dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The other officers who were taken hostage survived unharmed.

Sheridan left behind a wife and young daughter at the time of his death. He was named the honorary operational commander for “Operation J-Bird.” Limon Police Chief Lynn Yowell was honored when the bureau contacted the department to let them know Sheridan would be the man of honor during the sting operation.

“I thought it was outstanding,” Yowell said. “I was tickled pink that they would think of us and think of (Sheridan) enough to make him honorary incident commander. It was just really, really nice.”

Yowell shared the news with Sheridan’s wife and family, who stay in touch with the police department in a healing process filled with days that are both “good and bad,” Yowell said. Both are bracing for court hearings to begin against Hasty’s wife, Jackie Hasty.

The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office on March 17, 2011, filed charges against Jackie Hasty that include reckless manslaughter and accessory to a crime. The preliminary hearing in Jackie Hasty’s case begins Feb. 27 in Elbert County District Court.

Meantime, “Operation J-Bird” resulted in the arrest of three sex offenders. DeAngelo Herrera, 19, was arrested on an original charge of sex assault on a child, pattern of abuse; Shawn Elliot, 28, with an original charge of sex assault on a child, pattern of abuse; and Adrian Brown, 30, original charge of sex assault on a child.

Colorado has 14,831 convicted sex offenders who are required to register and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation estimates that, of those, 818 have failed to register. There are 747,408 registered sex offenders in the United States, according to the CBI. The CBI sex offender tip line at (303) 239-5732 allows anyone to leave information about the location of a sex offender wanted for failing to register. The Colorado Sex Offender Public Database is at www.sor.state.co.us.