The Operations Section for the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office oversees Inmate Services / Classifications, Court Security, Transportation, Work Release, Contract Services (Kitchen and Medical) the Criminal Investigations Detective, Inmate Mail, Background Investigations and Fire Safety. All of these Specialty Areas work in conjunction with the Security Section to provide a safe, secure, constitutional jail.
Classification is an objective means of identifying and categorizing various offender traits, characteristics, and potential risks and liabilities in order to detain offenders in a safe, humane manner. Proper classification ensures secure jail operations and facilitates staff and public safety. It also allows offenders to be assigned to programs and services that constructively occupy their time while in custody, which ensures the orderly management of the jail. Offenders will not be classified by race, color, creed, or national origin but will be separated by gender, legal status, and for other management reasons.
Court Security / Transportation
Our common goal within the unit is to provide safety and security to all persons, to include staff and public. We have accomplished this by remaining diligent and attentive during the tour of our duty. Our court ordered transports include, but are not limited to the following: Colorado Mental Health Institute (CMHIP), Colorado Department of Corrections Facilities, Federal Correctional Facilities, Youth Offender Facilities, and other Sheriffs Detention Facilities.
We have been able to maintain a good working relationship with many of these agencies based on our constant communication and interaction with them. Deputies assigned to the unit are very well versed at knowing the location(s) of many of the facilities, which contributes to a safer and quicker delivery of the inmates we are handling. We are also responsible for transporting detainee/inmates to medical appointments as is deemed necessary by the detention contract medical staff.
The court security aspect of the job requires that deputies ensure safety and security throughout the process. This would include making sure that policy and procedures are adhered to consistently in order to alleviate any future problems from occurring. Deputies are responsible for making sure that safety and security is maintained in the judicial building. It is also imperative that inmates be transported to their respective courts in a timely manner. As many of the judges in the Tenth Judicial District would concur, the jobs that our deputies perform are impeccable. The deputies are always responsive to the needs of the judicial staff and public. Another job duty Court Security Deputies are responsible for handling, are the arrests that occur at the Judicial Building and the Probation Department.
Work Release is currently located at 1600 West 24th Street Building 106 at the Colorado Mental Health Institute of Pueblo. We currently house 40 Work Release clients and 40 Labor Crew clients who are housed in two separate wings. We currently are staffed by one Sergeant, eight work release deputies, one work release coordinator, and three labor crew deputies. Deputies at the Work Release site are responsible for the safety and security of the inmates housed here as well as the state hospital clients and the surrounding community. These safety provisions include the monitoring of the work locations of both work release clients and the labor crews that go out of the facility daily. The crews go out with both trained supervisors in the private sector as well as certified deputies that take out six member crews to do work in the city and county of Pueblo. This also includes a female labor crew of six and a deputy.
The Work Release location is self contained in that they coordinate all classification, medical, intake and reception, property, and kitchen functions in collaboration with the main facility. We also have one job check deputy that provides daily job checks to assure that each work release client is at the assigned work employment site. This deputy makes unannounced visits to each client’s worksite and coordinates with employers to prevent interruptions. Many of the contacts often turn into positive contacts for future employment prospects. Deputies coordinate work assignments with employers to monitor clients work related behavior. Schedules are provided by the employer and client to assure clients assignments and locations.
The Work Release Coordinator is responsible for the clients from the application process through the beginning, middle, and end of each inmate’s tour in work release. This includes coordinating with the job check deputy on job information, interviews, paperwork processing, communication with the court system, employers, probation, court ordered programs, weekly financial data, and inmate inquires concerning family needs.
Work Release has an average of 155 inmates per year with a financial gain of $120,000.00 a year in fees. These monies are placed back into Pueblo County for use in inmate programs and other work projects causing less of a financial burden on taxpayers. We currently have 15 private sector civilian supervisors that are trained by work release deputies. This training includes all phases of inmate management and procedures and includes a 4 hour course pertaining to inmate safety and security. These supervisors run labor crews in such areas as the Pueblo City and County golf courses, Pueblo Police Department, Pueblo Transit, Pueblo City Parks and County Recreation, Pueblo County Court House, Colorado State Fair, Pueblo County Maintenance Facilities, Harp River Walk and many more.
We also have three labor crew deputy supervisors who take out six member crews to work in both city and county venues. Deputy led labor crew’s average eighty inmates a year. In 2009 from January 1, to December 31, we accrued 40,067 total inmate hours with 1,406 total inmate crew members used. This totaled a contribution of $291,688.14 returned to the taxpayers in labor work.
The Kitchen of the Pueblo County Detention Center is managed by The Compass Group – Canteen Services (a private contractor). Working out of a state of the art kitchen built in conjunction with the new dormitory completed in 2006, the staff from Canteen supervise up to 15 inmates who prepare, cook, and serve as many as 1800 meals a day for the staff and inmates of the Pueblo County Detention Center. They also sell and deliver commissary items to the inmates like instant soup, candy bars, bath products, and other assorted items.
Fire Safety and Sanitation
The Fire/Safety officer is responsible for the cleanliness of the jail and maintaining the safety of the jail. Fire/Safety partners with the Hearings Deputy to conduct inmate disciplinary hearings. Fire/Safety works closely with the Fire Department and Health Department to ensure all fire codes and health department regulations are followed. The Fire/Safety officer works with the Classification Section in showing health videos to the inmates. The health videos educate inmates on topics such as: driving under the influence, wearing seat belts, drug use and personal health. Fire/Safety and Classification also educate inmate trustees on the dangers of bio hazards and teaches them how to keep themselves from being contaminated by a bio hazard. In 2010, Fire/Safety partnered up with the Health Department and coordinated free vaccinations to the officers and inmates. The Detention Bureau recently attained the ACA accreditation (American Correctional Association). To prepare for this major accomplishment, Fire/Safety worked closely with all areas of the jail. Fire/Safety was responsible for making sure painting, cleaning, and any maintenance issues were addressed.
As a team, from the top to the bottom, we organized and worked together cleaning and painting. Special Project Trustees were utilized in painting, wax and buffing floors, rearranging and throwing out trash. The Special Project Trustee was a position that was created in 2008 to help maintain cleanliness throughout the jail. Since the program has worked so well in the past, we continue to utilize our trustees with special projects. Special project trustees often display a high degree of pride in their jobs and as they accomplish their task it is very noticeable by observers.
One of the biggest responsibilities for the Fire/Safety officer is maintaining and auditing fire extinguishers and all Self Contained Breathing Apparatus’s (SCBA) throughout the Sheriff’s Office, the Annex, the Pueblo West Substation and the off site work release center located at the Colorado Mental Health Institute. When a fire extinguisher needs to be repaired or the SCBA needs air, the Fire/Safety officer will contact the appropriate agency to correct any issue.
The Fire/Safety Officer is also responsible for key control within the detention center. Members from our Security Assessment Group (SAG) and the Fire/Safety Officer worked on key inventory and implement the Morse Watchman Key Watcher. The Key Watcher is a computer system which releases and inventories our security keys. The Fire/Safety Officer is responsible for maintaining the key watcher, pulling reports and replacing broken keys.
The Fire/Safety Officer is in charge of making purchases and seeking out new products to increase the safety and productivity of the jail. It is an ongoing task of the Fire/Safety Officer to be aware of and look for ways to make the jail safer and more efficient.
The inmates housed in the Pueblo County Detention Center receive professional medical treatment from another private contractor, Correctional Healthcare Management. Their team, made up of doctors, dentists, nurses, paramedics, and EMT’s and mental health practitioners, staff the medical department twenty-four hours a day. They have visits with inmate patients serving their medical and dental needs, prescribe and dispense medications, and meet with mental health clients housed in the facility. In 2008 almost 4500 inmates received medical care with a practitioner here on-site (up from 3900 in 2007). The dentist saw 395 inmates in 2008 – down from 527 in 2007. Many inmates have to be sent to local hospitals for treatment in the emergency room or main hospital due to the severity of their medical problems – in 2008 we sent 107 inmates out for treatment.