New Information Surfaces Surrounding Fire Chief's Resignation

Former Grand Junction Fire Chief Rick Beaty resigned in March after 22 years in the city's fire department and on Tuesday, 11 News learned that a DEA investigation as well as an internal city investigation may have contributed to Beaty's abrupt resignation.
The information was released during a sentencing hearing at the Mesa County Justice Center Tuesday, involving a former DEA informant.
The Mesa County District Attorney's Office in conjunction with the DEA Western Colorado Drug Task Force began an investigation in March 2005, following a drug arrest where an acquaintance of Beaty's was fingered as a drug supplier.
The informant and an undercover officer from an undisclosed agency began recording conversations with Beaty and Brock Benson, his acquaintance.
In one of the recordings, Benson bragged about having good connections in the city and could distribute without the fear of getting caught, while court records indicate Beaty told stories of taking psychedelic drugs, particularly mushrooms and ecstasy during the burning man festival, an annual event in Nevada.
According to the investigation findings, Beaty also talked of bringing Benson to Denver to pick up a large amount of ecstasy, which was allegedly to be brought back for a rave party in the Rabbit Valley region.
The criminal investigation was ended in August 2005 with no charges being filed.
In November, Grand Junction City Manager Kelly Arnold says the City of Grand Junction was informed of Beaty's possible improprieties and were urged to request the investigation files from the DEA.
11 News did speak with Arnold Tuesday evening and he says an internal panel investigation was launched in January, when the panel was finished.
Arnold, who says he has not seen or is aware of what the findings were, sat down for a private conversation with Beaty, told the former chief he was about to look through the panel's findings and that was when he said Beaty resigned.
According to the Mesa County District Attorney's Office, the felony crimes Beaty talked about did not happen in Colorado and are therefore not subject to prosecution in the state.
Attempts by 11 News to contact Beaty for comment were unsuccessful.


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