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April 2012 report to the county commissioners


The sheriff and undersheriff…

…attended or participated in a variety of civic activities including Rotary, Salida Chamber’s Business After Hours, League of Women Voters, the new Salida High School open house, various political events, and the Kids Count luncheon.  The sheriff spoke to commercial river rafting guides at the annual orientation meeting hosted by AHRA.  The sheriff attended the annual breakfast awards event for the local Boy Scouts.  The undersheriff was guest speaker at the Salida Rotary.  Both attended the annual Friends of NRA banquet at the Fairgrounds.

The sheriff presented a County Sheriffs of Colorado scholarship award to Caitlyn Wagner, a Buena Vista High School student.

The sheriff’s office submitted an application to CDOT for a $20,000 grant for DUI enforcement.


The Chaffee County Coroner ruled the David Butler death a suicide.

Two teen forums on drug and alcohol use, cosponsored by the sheriff’s office and Build A Generation with the cooperation of the Buena Vista and Salida police departments, were presented on two successive evenings, one in Buena Vista and the other in Salida.  Both were well-attended with active participation by parents, students, and school staff.  Details can be found on the sheriff’s office website at www.chaffeesheriff.org

At our community forums several people suggested we create a tip line to receive anonymous information about illegal drugs, underage alcohol sales and use, and related issues.  After a good deal of effort, the sheriff’s office has finally implemented the suggestion.  The number is 719-539-8768.  Callers may remain anonymous.

Deputies participated in the Every 15 Minutes program produced by the Buena Vista Police Department with the cooperation of Buena Vista High School staff and students.  This event, involving volunteers from all law enforcement agencies in the county, the county court, district attorney, EMS, fire departments, and many others, is a dramatic, semi-theatrical event that graphically illustrates the human cost of tragedies caused by drinking and driving.  An 18-minute video can be viewed on YouTube at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxT-k61r2f0

In four hours, Chaffee County residents turned in 75.7lbs of unused or expired medications at collection sites in Salida and Buena Vista as part of the Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 28th.  The event was such a success that we intend to participate again next year.  A big thank you to the community members who made the effort to drop off their medications, the Buena Vista and Salida police departments, local pharmacists who volunteered, and the dedicated pharmacy students from University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy.  Especially sincere thanks to Build A Generation coordinators Rebecca Rice and Nancy Mallett whose hours of effort in planning and preparation made the event possible.

Several arrests related to underage drinking, providing alcohol to minors, and violation of a county fire ban were made at a bonfire site in Fourmile.  We issued a press release with names of the adults that were cited or arrested, and it appeared in the local papers (the release may be viewed on our website at www.chaffeesheriff.org).  An agreement has been reached between the sheriff’s office and the US Forest Service for collaboration on patrols in Fourmile this summer to discourage similar activity.

Several Red Flag Warnings from the National Weather Service triggered NO BURN restrictions by the sheriff.

Senator Mark Udall was a visitor to our county on April 3.  No incidents.

The patrol division acquired four new replacement vehicles.  All are four-wheel-drive SUVs, very distinctively marked and with high visibility LED top-mounted light bars.

  Training Attended

The sheriff and patrol commander attended a conference in Vail sponsored by the Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee.  Attendees were sheriffs, police chiefs, and state and federal law enforcement executives.

The undersheriff and all three sergeants attended a two-day training session in Denver sponsored by County Sheriffs of Colorado.  Topics covered were civil liability, risk management, and professional standards in developing policy.

The patrol tactical team completed ten hours of regular monthly specialized training.

All patrol deputies completed firearms qualification.

  New hires

  Complaints / commendations

The sheriff received a letter from a Salida area woman involved in a dispute with her neighbors in which she alleged that the deputy who contacted her acted improperly.  The sheriff is looking into her allegations personally and his findings will be reported in next month’s report.

Victims Advocate

Communications Center

Communications Manager Annette Stolba is working on a communications response plan for school emergencies.  In addition, she is assisting the undersheriff and the Salida fire chief in conducting informal training for dispatchers on their role during incidents where an IC is established, how communications should work, etc.

National Dispatchers Week was April 9-13.  The Mountain Mail published a guest article by Annette Stolba explaining the duties of dispatchers.


The communications center is in the process of hiring a new dispatcher.  Testing was April 30 with a planned hire date in mid-May

  Training received

Several dispatchers attended leadership training hosted by EMD of Colorado

Dispatchers also attended training by the Pueblo Interagency Dispatch Center covering our communications center’s role in a wildfire.  Also discussed were technical descriptions and terminology for various specialized firefighting equipment.

Search and Rescue

Records and Administration

Detention Facility

Alamosa County signed the contract for our agency to house their inmates.  The first of their inmates will be arriving on May 1st.

  Personnel status changes

A detentions deputy resigned to accept a position elsewhere.

A new person was hired for the full time nurse position.  He has twenty years nursing experience and spent the past ten years or so as a travelling surgical nurse.

Another recently-hired part-time detentions deputy was a sergeant with the Colorado Department of Corrections in Canon City and has twenty years military police experience.