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

The Detention Facility: Aging, outdated, dangerous

Urgent need for new jail. Now.

Walls crumble, sewage backs up, inmates crowd into pods, while the staff struggles to provide basic mental and behavioral health assistance inside the Arapahoe County jail.

The Detention Facility was built in 1986 to hold 386 inmates, but routinely, there's about three times that, some 1,100 inmates. They are are triple-bunked making tempers flare, sparking violence and putting officers in danger. Crowding is just one concern.

Consider this:

  • The lack of services for inmates means more repeat offenders.
  • The overall infrastructure of the jail is failing. Sewage, plumbing and electrical systems are stressed in a system never designed for the number of inmates housed there today.
  • The booking and release center is inadequate. Designed for 29 inmates, it often holds as many as 80. That makes for long processing delays, puts the staff at risk, and means there isn’t enough holding space for the many separation needs of men and women, those using drugs and alcohol and inmates with mental and behavioral issues.
  • The jail is woefully inadequate in its ability to provide care for inmates experiencing behavioral health problems. There are only eight cells for them. Twelve cells for medical care. Just a few spaces that can be used for suicide watch.
  • Forty-percent of the jail population experiences behavioral health needs. That’s some 400 to 450 people needing help, a larger population than the jail was originally built to house.
We're so busy, and we have so many critical tasks with no ability to expand,” Detention Services Bureau Chief Vince Line told the Littleton Independent. “It's a recipe for potential disaster.”

-Photos courtesy of David Gilbert of the Littleton Independent

The solution lives at the intersection of doing what we can as a county to divert low-level offenders from our jail, investing in new facilities that are safer and more efficient, and enhancing programs that work to keep people from ending up in jail again.

Creating safe, modern criminal justice and judicial facilities will result in the best outcomes and make the most efficient use of taxpayer funds.

Want a well-behaved dog like our K-9s?

Our master trainer says the secret is a ball, frequent training, and having fun

“Usually it’s easier to train the dogs than the handlers.” -ACSO Master K-9 Trainer Gordon Carroll

At the start of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Academy this month, two puppies could barely sit still. They were getting to work with their new handlers, learn new skills, and were frequently rewarded with their favorite plastic ball. It was a dog’s dream.

“The ball is the key to good K-9 training. We try to make everything upbeat and positive,” said ACSO Master K-9 Trainer Gordon Carroll. “We keep it fun for them and they do a good job for us.”

In the academy, the puppies train 40 hours a week for three to four months. Even when they get home, their handlers give them obedience training twice a day, for five minutes each. The handlers use high-pitched, excited voices and always reward the dogs for a job well done.

Puppies Zero and Mako are going to be dual-purpose canines. They’re learning 21 major disciplines involving tracking, apprehension, sniffing out drugs and detecting bombs. The dogs learn to smell 15 types of explosives and just about every drug out there, except for marijuana.

“The hardest skill to teach is tracking. It takes the most time and commitment,” said Carroll.

The dogs are from Europe, so the handlers give most commands in German and Dutch.

“In the heat of combat, it’s unlikely a bad guy is going to say a German word. We don’t want him to say ‘lay down’ in English and have the dog to do it,” said Carroll.

Very quickly, the dogs learn to turn their drive on and off, which is good, because they’re also family pets. Trainer Carroll calls them Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde dogs. “We flip a switch in them with a command and they go to work, and then with a wink, they go back to Dr. Jekyll.”

New handler Deputy DJ Ruybal who just got his four-legged partner Zero, says it’s a different experience patrolling with a K-9. “They’re your dog first. But they’re also your partner who protects you, goes out on the streets with you and home with you every night. It’s a lot of work. But it’s also rewarding.”

Watch the trainers teaching the puppies new skills!

A student’s best friend

School Resource Officers find therapy dogs are dog-gone good for kids

When you see a K-9 and a cop, you might think they’re looking for drugs or weapons, but not in schools. Our School Resource Officers (SROs) are using therapy dogs to break down the barriers with kids.

“I spoke to kids who have never spoken to me, saw smiles everywhere, and I know I changed at least one kid’s life for the better,” said Deputy Mark Edson, School Resource Officer at Arapahoe High School.

Deputy Edson worked with the Denver Secret Service to bring the project to life. To test it out, Littleton Public Schools (LPS) employee K-9 Lulu spent two days with him and other SROs visiting schools, reducing the stress of tests, and talking to students. With such a successful test, look for more therapy dogs in school across the county soon.

Broncos in a BearCat

What do the Denver Broncos have in common with a Police K-9 and a SWAT vehicle? Not much but they had a blast visiting us! Thanks to DenverBroncos.com for the video. P.S. The players told us they will win the SuperBowl this year!

STEM gives thanks for rescue

When the first frantic calls came into 9-1-1 on May 7, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office responded to STEM School along with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office within minutes. Together, the teams worked together to stop two teenagers with guns who had shot one student to death and wounded eight others. Since then, people associated STEM have poured out their hearts and thanks to our deputies. We couldn’t be more thankful for their kind words. Watch the story.

It's a thin blue line between life and death as a cop and solider. Our Lt. Craig Reams, a cop and country music fan, sings about sacrificing it all.

Guns and Hoses

Firefighters sworn in as SWAT members to provide immediate medical care in emergencies May 2019

You’re not imagining things. Sheriff Tyler Brown swore in two firefighters as new Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office SWAT medics and reserve deputies. Taylor Olson and Zachary Hutchins will now respond with SWAT to critical incidents. If someone is injured and needs medical attention, now there will be paramedics on scene to immediately render aide. SWAT Medics is a joint program between the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office and South Metro Fire Rescue.

Sheriff Tyler Brown swears in firefighters Taylor Olson and Zachary Hutchins
Get your Pink on! When you buy a pink patch, you help fight breast cancer

Help us battle breast cancer by buying a pink patch, pin, bracelet, challenge coin, hat or car magnet. The ACSO has teamed up with Littleton Adventist Hospital to create the Pink Patch Project. The funds will help raise awareness about early detection and pay for treatment for patients who can’t afford it. It’s estimated 1 in 7 women in Colorado will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her life. About 2,550 men will also get the cancer, and 500 will die.

Get your Pink Patch today in the gift shop of the Littleton Adventist Hospital at 7700 S. Broadway, Littleton; at the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office store 13101 East Broncos Parkway, Centennial; and at the ACSO Detention Facility located at 7375 South Potomac Street in Centennial. Have a question? Email CAnderson@Arapahoegov.com

On the road with motorcycles

With winter finally melting away, motorcycle riders of all types are pulling the covers off their bikes and taking to the roads again.

If you’re new to riding or perhaps you’ve decided to rekindle an old flame, it’s a good idea to take a rider course, even if you’ve ridden before. Remember, even an old dog can learn new tricks!

There are several providers of motorcycle education who operate in our area and riders can take classes aimed at the beginning rider up to advanced classes for technical skills, such as racing or off-road riding. A simple online search will give you more results than we can list here, but here's a couple suggestions: ABATE of Colorado - abateofcolo.org,Motorcycle Safety Foundation - msf-usa.org.

Before hitting the road, always do yourself a favor and take a close look at your bike’s condition. Taking a few minutes to conduct a “pre-flight” check can prevent a crash!

  • Are your tires in need of replacement? Are they aired up to the manufacturer’s specifications?
  • How do your wheels look? Do you have a bent rim or broken or loose spokes?
  • Have you checked or replaced your brake pad/shoes lately? If not, do you know how to check them? Do both brakes work and hold the bike?
  • Check all your switch gear controls to make certain all controls are working as designed.
  • Activate and ensure all lights are in good working order.
  • Your bike uses a variety of fluids in the powertrain. Depending on your bike, you will have engine oil/transmission oil and possibly primary chaincase or shaft drive oil, in addition to brake fluid and clutch fluid, should you have a hydraulic clutch. Make sure whatever your bike uses, it’s appropriately full and clean.
  • Take a look at your shocks, front and rear. Are they clean or an oily mess? Do the shocks compress and rebound properly?
  • Give all fasteners a look too. Make sure none of your various nut & bolts have vibrated loose.
  • Does your side stand/center stand extend and retract properly?

Don’t be hard-headed. Wear a helmet! Colorado does not require helmets for adult riders but according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, wearing a helmet reduces your risk of dying in a crash by 37%. The same study found riders without helmets are 3 times more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury in a crash when compared to helmeted riders. Bottom line is helmets are the best protection we can have in preventing death/injury due to head trauma.

Full face helmets offer the best protection. Look for a brand name helmet with both a DOT rating and a SNELL rating when choosing one if you want the best protection.

Modular helmets, which allow the chin bar on the helmet to lift up to expose the rider’s face are another popular option. You won’t find a SNELL rating here though, as the movable chin bar is a weak point in a crash therefore SNELL won’t certify them. That doesn’t mean they’re no good though, just keep that fact in mind and buy a quality helmet from a one of the name brand makers.

Three-quarter and Half helmets are next down the safety list. A three-quarter helmet will come down over the ears and lower down the back of the head. A half helmet shell sits above the ears and does not extend as far down the back of the head. These are both good choices for hot weather riding or for those that find a full face/modular helmet too claustrophobic.

Visit an inmate from virtually anywhere

Instead of driving to the Arapahoe County jail to speak to an inmate through a video kiosk, you can now visit with them from virtually anywhere with internet access and a free app. Learn more by watching the video below about Anywhere Visit inside the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office Detention Facility.

Just the facts, ma'am

How many warnings do deputies give out compared to the number of traffic tickets? (page 29) Why do we need money for a new jail? (page 8.) How safe is our county? (page 15.) Learn all about public safety in the new 2018 Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office annual report!

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