Sheriff proposes increase in part-time help to offset staffing shortage

Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead hopes several new part-time employees will fix the staffing problem at the Public Safety Center.

Grinstead wants to hire four or five part-time employees to man the master control station at the jail. The hiring would free detention officers to perform other duties.

After the 2003 end of the year report to the Board of County Commissioners, Grinstead said he's determined the county could hire two part-time employees, who would alternatively work 32 and 24-hour weeks, for the same cost of a full-time detention officer that received benefits.

Grinstead has long said he does not have enough personnel to adequately run the jail. When a prisoner ran away from the jail while shoveling snow, Grinstead initially blamed the incident on insufficient staffing.

During some shifts lately, only two detention officers have been staffing the jail. One officer is stationed at master control, observing the prisoners in the pods, while the other is stationed in booking. But if the officer in master control spots a problem, such as an assault in a pod or that officer can't leave master control to address the problem. But the officer in booking can't leave his station either.

If a part-time employee was stationed in master control, detention officers would be free to respond to problems in the pod perform other duties, Grinstead said. A college student, someone looking for a second job or a retired individual could fill the position, said Undersheriff Jerry Hoberg.

During his 2003 end of the year presentation, Grinstead reported:

  • Public Safety Center inmates performed 12,120 hours of work for Moffat County, mostly in and around the Public Safety Center but also in the cemetery, Loudy Simpson Park, Sherman Youth Camp, and the fairgrounds. Inmates worked 3,140 hours for Craig's Parks and Recreation Department, Colorado Depart-ment of Transportation and the Community College of Northwest Colorado. Grinstead estimated the county and other government agencies saved $156,380 thanks to inmate labor.
  • GRAMNET made 69 felony arrests, seized 10 handguns and busted two clandestine methamphetamine drug labs.
  • Officers were dispatched in response to calls for service 6,860 times, an increase of 62 percent since 1999.
  • Moffat County deputies arr-ested 262 suspects on petty offenses and misdemeanor charges and 120 suspects on felony charges.
  • Jail revenue increased to $254,000. The money came from contracts with Immigration and Naturalization Services, Depart-ment of Corrections and Carbon County, Wyo. However, jail revenue was projected at $450,000 when the jail was built.
  • 1,716 individuals were book-ed into the jail, an increase of 89 percent since 1999.
  • The jail's one full-time cook prepared 55,945 meals at a cost of 89 cents per meal.
  • The Sheriff's Office awarded scholarships to Amanda Tomlin-son, Janie Dunckley and Kate Schafer.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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