Sheriff’s Office wants more jail staffing |

Sheriff’s Office wants more jail staffing

Two inmates sneaked from their pod last week and were loose in the Moffat County Jail for more than an hour.

If the inmates had been in possession a weapon, they easily could have killed the detention officer on duty, Lt. Dean Herndon said.

If more than two officers had been on duty that night, the incident might not have happened, Herndon said.

“Those guys in the back have 24 hours to think of ways to get out and hurt us,” Herndon said.

Such incidents highlight the need for at least one more detention officer in the jail, he said during the Moffat County Sheriff’s annual report to the county commissioners.

The average inmate population for 2004 was 65 inmates a day. This year, the sheriff projects the average population to increase to 73 inmates a day.

“The way we’re going right now, these projections are going to be way low,” Undersheriff Jerry Hoberg said.

Jail revenues in 2004 increased by more than $15,000. The jail makes most of its money by billing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Colorado De–part—ment of Corrections and other counties for holding their prisoners. Herndon estimated that the jail could raise $100,000 more this year than it did last year.

This year, the jail has billed $117,000 for holding other jurisdictions’ inmates.

He asked the commissioners to consider using that some of that money to pay another detention officer.

Commissioner Darryl Steele

said the commissioners would consider the request.

Deputies in the Sheriff’s Office also have their plates full, Sheriff Buddy Grinstead said.

Calls for service increased by about 800 from 2003 to 2004. The department’s nine deputies averaged 849 calls last year. That’s about as much as the deputies can handle, Grinstead said.

The majority of the calls came from Shadow Mountain and Western Knolls, the two major population centers in the unincorporated part of Moffat County. Loudy-Simpson Park had the third most calls. Most were related to criminal mischief or vandalism.

As part of the Grand Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team, a drug task force that covers Grand, Routt and Moffat Counties, the Sheriff’s Office seized 813 grams of cocaine, 2.5 grams of heroin, 406 grams of methamphetamine, 27 grams of hallucinogens, and 22,474 grams of marijuana.

Inmates worked at Moffat County’s jail, courthouse, landfill, cemetery, fairgrounds and for the City of Craig, Colorado North-western Community Coll-ege and the Colorado Department of Transportation for a total of 22,554 hours.

If that labor is valued at $10 an hour, the inmates saved these organizations $225,540.

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