Jail staff too busy to


To the Editor:

I feel that a rebuttal to the Jan. 7 editorial "Escaping Notice" and Beth Deitrich's letter to the editor (Jan. 7) is in order.

To Beth -- you stated that a moron was the person that let a sexual offender be a working inmate.

Why didn't you take into consideration that every person in that jail broke the law in some way?

The working inmates are chosen by their attitude, willingness to cooperate and help out, thus shortening their sentence.

Unfortunately, this particular person took advantage of the situation and ran. This person did get caught, and added time to his sentence.

How many drug dealers, people with a history of domestic violence, alcohol abusers, people that have a restraining order against them for a myriad of reasons, are out on the street today?

These are the people that get out on a personal recognizance bond or a friend or relative bonds them out.

Unfortunately, most of these people are out doing the same thing that got them into jail in the first place.

So to alleviate this problem, I suggest you volunteer to shovel snow and clean up around the safety center. This will eliminate the need for the sheriff's office to send out inmates to perform these necessary tasks.

To the editor and Ms. Dietrich, I suggest you both volunteer to work the jail for a 12-hour shift.

The jail has two detention officers working 12-hour shifts -- sometimes, depending on their schedules, there are three -- but most of the time there are two.

For your information, one person has to be at the master control at all times. This person answers telephones, watches the camera monitors, observes pods which house inmates, answers the intercoms from the pods, keeps a log of all events that occur in the jail and opens sliders doors to let officers and inmates in and out of the area.

The other officer has to issue medications, serve breakfast, lunch and supper, screen visitors, do change out of clothing and beddding to each inmate twice a week, issue civilain clothing to inmates on work release (both going to work and return in the evening) and go to the lobby to receive money from people who want to add to an inmate's account.

When inmates to go to court, an officer has to escort him. Most of the time it is a sergeant or the lieutenant that has to take them because the two officers on duty are busy. When the lieutenant or sergeant take these people to court, it detracts from their duties.

When video court is in session, an officer has to be present to record the determination of the judge on each inmate's case. In additon to the duties of the "other officer," a state tropper, police officer or deputy brings in a person that has been arrested. The detention officer has to book the arrestee. If this officer is busy, the preliminary information is taken, the arrestee is searched and placed in a holding cell until there is enough time to book him or her, which entails a female to be on duty at all times.

So, when the concerned citizens of Moffat County think that the Sheriff's Office should have a detention officer or a road deputy follow a working inmate all day, who will perform their duties in the jail or patrol the vast miles of Moffat County?

As I stated before, I suggest Ms. Deitrich and the editor work a shift at the jail and see what transpires in the course of a 12-hour shift.

Another concerned citizen,

Edward A. Wilkinson


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