Collaboration saves sheriff's department money

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A collaboration among Colorado sheriffs saved Moffat County more than $16,000 in prisoner transports in 2003.

The program, called Transports Across Colorado, allows Moffat County to send inmates to other jurisdictions or extradite inmates without sending a Moffat County deputy to the location.

Instead, the counties hand over inmates to neighboring departments, which shuttle them on to the next county.

It's most often used when Moffat County sends inmates to the Colorado Department of Corrections in Denver, said Sheriff Buddy Grinstead.

Moffat County can send a prisoner to Denver and only have to drive to Glenwood Springs. There, inmates from Moffat and Garfield counties get on a shuttle from Mesa County, on its way to Denver.

Also, if someone is picked up on a Moffat County warrant in some distant part of the state, Transports Across Colorado will shuttle the inmate here.

Other agencies helped Moffat County transport 51 inmates in 2003. The program saved the county 385 personnel hours, and more than 15,000 miles of driving.

Moffat County, in turn, transported 80 inmates for other agencies. Moffat County only drove 2,924 miles at a cost of $2,500.

Even though Moffat County is in the corner of the state, it still plays a role in the program, Grinstead said.

The advantage to Mesa or Garfield County is when one of their suspects is picked up in Wyoming, for instance, Grinstead said.

And now that Moffat County has a contract to hold inmates for Carbon County, Wyo., prisoners bound for Colorado can come down on the same shuttle.

"It's actually branching out and networking outside Colorado right now," Grinstead said.

Still, some networking inside Colorado is lacking. Routt County, for instance, does not participate in Transports Across Colorado, Grinstead said.

"It's frustrating that we have a neighbor so close and we could help each other out," Grinstead said.

Besides Garfield and Mesa counties, Moffat County often works with Rio Blanco County, Grinstead said.

Transports Across Colorado started in 1995, when sheriffs and jail administrators realized numerous agencies were making trips to the same location on the same day. They realized a simple telephone call could save hundreds of miles of driving, as well as officers' time.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office spearheaded the program, Grinstead said.

There are plans to further expand the program and set up a Web-based interface for jail administrators to communicate and set up transports, Grinstead said.

"Agencies can get on the Web and see who's going where or add someone to the list," Grinstead said.

The site will be hosted by County Sheriffs of Colorado on a secure server.

"Obviously, you don't want people to know when you're transporting prisoners," Grinstead said.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com

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