Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office The Detail Newsletter - July 2019

Deputies at risk

A new jail would improve safety for all

Almost daily, police vehicles from multiple agencies snake down the driveway to the jail waiting to pick up and drop off inmates. Inside, there's another wait for inmates to be processed. There can be so many people in the booking area, it's standing room only. Deputies pack three at a time into cells built for one. More than 80 inmates squeeze around each other in an area which is supposed to hold 30.

Foot, waist and hand chains clank loudly. Heavy metal doors slam shut. The noise goes on and on while deputies carry out carefully choreographed safety procedures to book and release inmates. The inmates are moved into packed pods, where three adults share a cell the size of a chicken coop. Space is so tight, inmates have to be triple-bunked.

The jail was built in 1986 to hold 386 inmates. But on many days, the number hovers around 1,200. The noise, chaos and crowding eventually takes its toll.

"It's extremely stressful," Deputy Muhtalar Dickson says. "We have people all over the place. I understand the job comes with some aspect of your safety and security being at risk, but it seems like now more so than ever, it's an even more dangerous place to work."

In 2018, assaults on deputies hit an all-time high. Inmates assaulted 24 employees, a 120% increase of the past three years. Inmate on inmate assaults also increased. So far this year, 10 employees have been hit, kicked and knocked out cold.

The chief of the Detention Bureau, Vince Line, has never been more concerned about his deputies. They're dealing with more people today who have been arrested for more serious felonies compared to low-level offenders in the past. On top of that, almost every other inmate they deal with suffers from a mental illness or has drug and alcohol abuse issues.

"Ultimately, it's my responsibility to maintain the safety and security of this facility and follow the statutory requirements. It's also my responsibility to do whatever is necessary to make sure that our staff stays safe and returns to their families at the end of the shift." Chief Line said.

The growing danger to staff is just one reason why the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office needs a new detention facility. There's not enough room to expand and create new programs for the mentally ill, workforce training or life skills counseling - a key factor in reducing repeat offenses. On top of that, electrical and plumbing systems are failing.

Sheriff Tyler Brown says the county can't keep spending one-fifth of its building maintenance budget to repair the jail again and again. Brown says the county needs a new, modernized jail built to serve future generations of public safety needs. The detention facility is the oldest in the entire seven-county metro area.

"We are pushing our current jail facility to its limits. The jail is crowded. Space is tight. The stress on everyone is building. It's like a pressure cooker. A new facility will cost about $465 million. If we don't do it today, tomorrow, the cost will sky rocket," Sheriff Brown said.

The Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners has formed a long-range planning committee of residents and business leaders to study the issue. Its report and recommendations are expected this fall. Learn more.

Meet Nuke!

The first bomb-detecting K-9 in the history of the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office

“We no longer have to rely on other law enforcement agencies for their bomb-sniffing dogs, we finally have our own and Nuke is going to be a game-changer,” Deputy Tadd Alexander, Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit.

Nuke is a 10-month old Dutch Shepherd from the Netherlands, who made his way to Denver through a breeder in New York. He arrived at the sheriff’s office a few weeks ago. His handler, Deputy Tadd Alexander says Nuke was a bit skittish at first, but not anymore. “He’s healthy, smart and he’s going to be a great asset to Arapahoe County.”

Since Nuke is young, Deputy Alexander starts with obedience training where he teaches the dog simple commands such as ‘sit,’ ‘lay down’ and ‘release the ball.’ Once Nuke learns those, he’ll move on to more advanced training such as how to detect explosive scents. “Nuke will eventually learn 15 different scents and will be called to work whenever our bomb squad is called," says Alexander.

Nuke will do sweeps of the courthouse, sniff out suspicious packages, search for shell casings and gun powder at crime scenes. You’ll likely see him at local events which attract large crowds.

In six months, Nuke should be fully-trained at which time Deputy Alexander says he and his partner will be on-call 24/7 and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Dog Walker Watch

Learn how to be the eyes and ears for your community!

Come join our Arapahoe County Sheriff's deputies on Thursday, July 4 from 7:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. at the Cherry Creek State Park Dog Off-Leash Area located at 4201 S. Parker Road in Aurora. They will be stationed just as you walk in the front entrance.

Learn all about our Dog Walker Watch program which encourages neighbors to help law enforcement be the eyes and ears of the community. Our deputies will teach you how to effectively observe and report suspicious activity.

And you don't have to be a dog walker to participate -- that's just the name! The program is for everyone and requires no special training. Because law enforcement officers can't be everywhere, citizen involvement is essential. Many arrests of criminals come as a direct result of citizens contacting police about suspicious activity.

What is suspicious activity?

Behavior is suspicious. People are not suspicious.

1. Vehicles traveling at a low speed, or at a high speed, especially in the overnight hours.

2. Approaching vehicles in driveways, but not going to the front door.

3. Apparent transactions occurring from a vehicle.

4. Vehicles parked in an unusual location, either unoccupied or idling.

5. Knocking on your door, but looking for someone you don't know...and doing that at multiple homes. They are checking to see if the home is unoccupied.

The non-emergency number for the sheriff’s office is 303-795-4711. Always call 911 if it is an emergency. Be specific - describe the behavior and location. Answer questions from the dispatcher. Finally, remain calm, speak clearly and find a safe location.

Keep it REAL

Be safe this 4th of July. Keep 9-1-1 open for REAL emergencies

Our dispatchers get thousands of calls from people on the Fourth of July, mostly complaining about illegal fireworks. That makes it hard for dispatchers to sort through the calls and find critical incidents about injured people and fires. Calling the emergency line when it’s not a crisis slows down dispatchers from getting help to people who really need it.

The sad fact is, other crimes don’t stop happening on the holiday and our deputies need to respond to those crimes quickly. Help our dispatchers prioritize calls and don’t call 9-1-1 to complain about noise, to learn what fireworks are legal, or to ask how can you throw out old fireworks.

Instead, check out these answers to frequently asked questions:

Q: What’s legal in Arapahoe County? A: If it leaves the ground or explodes, it’s not legal in Arapahoe County and Centennial. That means no firecrackers, bottle rockets, lady fingers, mortars and roman candles. These are legal to use: fountains, wheels, sparklers, snakes and ground spinners.

Q: What if I hear people setting off illegal fireworks? A: Please don’t call dispatch about it, unless you have an exact address where it’s happening and names of the people setting them off. Otherwise, our deputies have no way to respond appropriately.

Q: What if I see my neighbors building a bomb-looking device? A: Please call 9-1-1 or ACSO dispatch at 303-795-4711 immediately.

Q: What if someone is hurt – or something is on fire? A: Please call 9-1-1 or ACSO dispatch at 303-795-4711 immediately.

Q: What is the penalty for using illegal fireworks? A: Colorado law provides that the sale or use of illegal fireworks is a Class 3 misdemeanor resulting in a fine of $50 to $750 and up to six months in jail.

Please keep it real and only call 9-1-1 in real emergencies this July 4th

Come join us at the Arapahoe County Fair July 25-28!

Cold Case: 33 Year Anniversary of Murder of Juan Ramirez, Father/Husband

Cold Case: Juan Ramirez was murdered in 1986

Juan Ramirez was an educated businessman and a devoted husband and father. On July 30, 1986, a rancher in Arapahoe County made a gruesome discovery along the frontage road near Airpark and I-70. Sprawled face-down in a pool of blood from a single gunshot would to the head, was the body of Juan Ramirez, fully-clothed and still in possession of his wallet, money and jewelry. It became apparent to investigators that Juan's silence was more important to his executioner than those valuables.

The case took an ominous turn when investigators discovered that Juan's business partner was a man named Dale Cameron, who was found dead two weeks earlier in Denver's Denargo Market, brutally bludgeoned about his head. Witnesses in both cases reported seeing a black pickup truck near the crime scenes, close to the time the bodies had been discovered.

On the day of Cameron's death, both Cameron and Ramirez had lunch with a third male. Tensions were high at that lunch and two weeks later, both business partners were dead. That third male is familiar to authorities but the extent of his involvement is unknown as he refuses to speak to authorities.

If you have any information regarding this case, you are encouraged to contact Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office at 303-795-4711, or email Coldcase@arapahoegov.com.

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office adds medics to SWAT team

"Five minutes can mean the difference between life and death," Captain Ken McKlem, Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office.

Coffee With A Cop

Join your neighbors and deputies for coffee and conversation

The mission of Coffee with a Cop is to break down barriers between deputies and the citizens they serve. By removing agendas and allowing opportunities for citizens to ask questions and voice concerns, you can get to know the deputies in your neighborhood.

Our next Coffee With A Cop will be:

Saturday, July 13

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

McDonalds, 6300 S. Broadway, Littleton, CO 80120

Questions? Please contact Deputy Amanda Cruz at acruz4@arapahoegov.com or 720-874-3750

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