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About the Investigations section

The Criminal Investigations Section is a specialized group of deputies that investigate felony crimes committed in unincorporated Mesa County and file those cases with the Mesa County District Attorney's Office.

MCSO Investigators have a combined 200+ years of law enforcement experience. The Criminal Investigations section averages investigations of more than 650 cases a year.

The Investigations Section is divided into two areas:

  • Property Crimes Unit
  • Complex Crimes Unit

Property Crimes Unit (PCU)

PCU investigates several different felony crimes:

  • Auto theft
  • Burglary
  • Fraud/Forgery
  • Identity theft
  • Robbery
  • Theft and financial crimes involving at-risk adults

These Investigators are also a part of the grant-funded BATTLE WEST Auto Theft Task Force and partner with other investigators from Western Colorado to combat auto theft.

Photograph of Investigation Division sign in hallway with large magnifying glass on the top of sign

Complex Crimes Unit (CCU)

CCU investigates several different crimes:

  • All death investigations
  • Child abuse
  • Homicide
  • Internet crimes against children
  • Missing persons/runaways
  • Sexual assault

Two CCU Investigators focus on internet crimes and computer forensics. Many of the investigations in CCU and PCU utilize computer forensics to help solve crimes.

Photograph of a technician dusting for finger prints on the outside of a vehicle at a crime scene behind a police line do not cross tape barrier


Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT)

MCSO Investigators are also on the 21st Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT).

The CIRT is comprised of investigators and detectives from all Mesa County law enforcement agencies, the District Attorney’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, the local Department of Corrections Parole unit, and a representative from the Colorado Bureau of Investigations.

These agencies value the highest standards in assuring conflict and bias-free investigations of critical incidents and officer-involved shootings. 

Critical Incident Response Team - Memorandum of Understanding 2023.pdf

Notable cases

The MCSO Investigation team has worked on several cases that have gained national attention.

  • 2001: Jennifer Blagg murder investigation 
  • 2006/2008: Shane Johnson 
  • 2007: Paige Birgfeld murder investigation 
  • 2008: Alan Helmick murder investigation 
Photograph of Media Interview with lights and cameras


Contact information

Do you need to report a crime?

Call non-emergency dispatch: 970-242-6707 or 911


Investigation contacts

Investigations Lieutenant

Mark Johnson

Phone: 970-244-3251


Complex Crimes Sergeant

Travis Christensen

Property Crimes Sergeant

Ross Young

Phone: 970-244-3356