Police Department

About Us

The Thornton Police Department is led by Chief of Police Randy Nelson and operates under the three divisions: Patrol, Administration, and Detectives, each of which is led by a Deputy Chief. Chief Nelson, a Colorado native, has been with the Thornton Police Department since 1976. During his tenure, he has managed all three Divisions within the police department. Chief Nelson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology from Indiana State University and is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy for Law Enforcement Executive Managers. 

There are 243 commissioned police officers and 77 non-commissioned employees working for the department.  Our police department strongly emphasizes community involvement and is committed to providing high quality law enforcement services.  The City of Thornton offers quality services for approximately 135,000 residents.

                       Welcome from the Chief

On behalf of the men and women of the Thornton Police Department, I want to thank you for your interest in our department.

As you may have already read, our mission is to protect and serve our community.  This is more than just a slogan for us, it is our primary objective and reason for existing.  We are here to help our citizens and work together to improve our community.

It is my honor and privilege to serve as your police chief.  I am very proud of the men and women of the Thornton Police Department, both sworn and non-sworn.  These courageous, dynamic, hardworking individuals are here to assist you and are dedicated to providing professional police services.

A statement from the Chief

On behalf of the men and women of the Thornton Police Department, I want to express our sincere appreciation for all the kind thoughts, prayers, cards, letters and food donations that have been coming from citizens to show their support of our department.  We are honored and proud to serve the citizens of Thornton.   

Mission and Vision Statements

Mission Statement

The mission of the Thornton Police Department is to serve and protect our community.  The department does this through a tradition of providing high quality police services, deterring crime by engaging in effective partnerships, collaborative problem solving and mentoring youth.

Vision Statement

The vision of the Thornton Police Department is to be recognized as the standard of excellence in law enforcement.  We will accomplish this by leading in technological innovation, personnel development, data driven decision making, collaborative partnerships and by providing proactive police service to our community.


Patrol Division: Deputy Chief Jerry Peters

The Patrol Division provides the community with around the clock, professional police service and is responsible for crime prevention, as well as responding to calls for service. The duties of the Patrol Division are to deter and investigate criminal activity, solve community related problems in a collaborative effort with the community, conduct traffic enforcement and accident investigation, and provide for the care and control of animals.

The division consists of over 174 employees who work in a fast paced, dynamic environment to accomplish the delivery of police services to the citizens of the City of Thornton. Patrol Officers are assigned to geographical areas of responsibility, referred to as "police districts", to preserve and protect the security and safety of persons and property. District Officers respond to radio dispatch calls for service to intervene in and investigate citizen complaints, crimes in progress, crimes reported after they have occurred, traffic accidents, disturbances and a multitude of other community related service requests. During the course of their duties District Officers engage in conducting preliminary investigations, provide for the protection and preservation of crime scenes, collect evidence, interview witnesses, victims and suspects, complete detailed reports, conduct follow up investigations, conduct proactive patrols, make arrests, and facilitate problem solving efforts with members of the community.

The Patrol Division also has a number of special service units, which provide unique services to the community, such as; The Youth Service Unit, Animal Control, Recruit Officer Field Training Program, Police Service Dog Unit, Special Weapons and Tactics Team, Honor Guard, Crisis Negotiations Unit and The Traffic Unit.

Detective Division: Deputy Chief Leroy Cross

The Detective Division is primarily responsible for the criminal investigation of assigned felony/misdemeanor crimes that meet designated solvability factors. Successful investigations by the division will typically culminate in an arrest, arrest warrant, felony summons, case referred to another agency, or a determination made that the reported crime did not occur.

The Detective Division is divided into a Persons Crime Unit, Property Crime Unit, Special Cases Unit and a Special Investigations Unit that is assigned to the North Metro Task Force for drug and vice crimes occurring in Adams and Broomfield Counties.

The Detective Division further conducts background investigations, liquor license investigations, is responsible for the gathering, maintaining, and distribution of department criminal intelligence information, and manages the Crime Lab and warehousing of property/evidence submitted to the Property Evidence Room.

Administration Division: Deputy Chief Cliff Brown

The Administration Division serves a support role to the Patrol Division and the Detective Division. The primary operational areas within the division include the Police Records Unit, Chaplain’s Unit, Planning and Research, Community Resource/Public Information Officer, Crime Analysis Unit, Automated Systems Support, Administrative Support, Procurement and Purchasing and the Emergency 911 Communication Center. The division also oversees the department budget and special projects.

For more information, visit our Recruitment Page.

PD Phone Numbers

​Emergency-Police, Fire or Medical: ​9-1-1​Patrol Division:​720-977-5330
​Non-Emergency: ​720-977-5150​Police Records Unit:​720-977-5140
​Administration Division: ​720-977-5020Property/ Evidence Unit:​720-977-5200
​Animal Control: ​720-977-5250​Recruiting Number:


​Chief of Police:​720-977-5020
​Community Relations:​720-977-5000TDD-Victim Services:720-977-5180
​Crime Analyst:​720-977-5290​Victim Services:​720-977-5172
​Crime Prevention:​720-977-5000

Spanish speaking advocates available.

​Detective Division:​720-977-5030


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