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June 2014 report to the county commissioners


The sheriff and undersheriff

The sheriff and undersheriff participated in the FIBArk parade.  Other than that, pretty much stayed in the office and out of the deputies’ hair.


Patrol deputies began their annual summer patrols of Forest Service campgrounds June 13.  Most will be conducted on weekend afternoons and evenings, concentrating on established camp grounds and the Four Mile area.   These patrols, funded by the US Forest Service, are conducted in regular uniform and marked patrol vehicles, offering a very visible law enforcement presence in the area throughout the summer.

Cmdr. Bos and members of the tactical team assisted Leadville police in serving an arrest warrant on a 35-year-old Leadville resident who has an extensive criminal history and was wanted on a variety of drug distribution charges.  When deputies entered the man’s residence after his arrest they found several marijuana plants and a marijuana drying rack in the young daughter’s bedroom.  Several children were present, having spent the night in a “sleepover.”  The man’s wife was arrested for child abuse based on conditions within the residence.

At the request of Cmdr. Bos, the county’s emergency manager, Lisa Ortega, obtained a grant to purchase Individual First Aid Kits (IFAC) for our deputies.  These kits are designed specifically for treating trauma wounds such as gunshot or stab wounds, and are also designed around the concept of self-treatment.  The kits were received and distributed earlier this month.  Cmdr. Bos intends to provide a kit to every patrol car in the county, including those of the two municipal police departments.

Learning for Life, the parent organization for the Explorers, has established guidelines for the Explorer posts to conduct fund raisers and set up non-profit bank accounts so that money can be raised, completely independent of the law enforcement agency, to fund explorer post expenses such as uniforms, activities, enrollment fees, etc.  The majority of Explorer posts do this.  Since it is independent of the agency, the funds are overseen by the explorer committee and are not connected with the law enforcement agency.  Each post sets up its own legal status as a non-profit and sets up its own bank account, again, clearly distinguishing it from the agency in every possible way.  On Saturday, June 14, Murdoch’s held a fundraiser that collected $250 for the post.

The new soft body armor vests have arrived and are being distributed to all patrol deputies and our two investigators.  We’re even issuing one to the undersheriff… but not the sheriff whose primary safety issue is carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Deputy Adair completed DRE training, finishing second in his class.  Over the next six months he is required to complete twelve evaluations under the supervision of a DRE instructor.

We received word from the Colorado Department of Transportation that our agency’s application for $4,000 to pay for DUI enforcement overtime for the second half of the year has been approved.  Deputy Ben Adair submitted the grant request and will be administering the program.

FIBArk drew large crowds this year.  Campers were displaced from areas along the river within the city limits of Salida and instead camped in the unincorporated areas of the county, along the north banks of the Arkansas River on the railroad right of way, and in the Salida East Campground.  These two areas were filled well beyond capacity.

Four deputies from the patrol division assisted with court security for a high risk court appearance of two individuals charged with first degree murder at the Buena Vista Correctional Facility last year.  Commander Holland, Sergeants James and Martinez, Corporal Nelson, and Deputy Payson assisted as well.

   Training Issues


  Complaints / commendations

The sheriff received a letter from a former employee alleging nepotism and unsafe practices within the detention facility.  The complainant sent a copy of the letter to the commissioners as well.  The sheriff responded to the complainant by letter, addressing each allegation and complaint and acknowledging one or two minor infractions which have been corrected, none warranting disciplinary action.  A copy of the sheriff’s letter was provided to the commissioners as a courtesy.

Salida Fire Chief Doug Bess emailed the following to Communications Manager Stolba:

Today [June 23] was a non-typical Monday.  The calls came early and often.  I believe Jett and Bill were working.  I just wanted to pass on my gratitude from Salida Fire Department.  It is not often that we have two river incidents in the same day let alone at the same time.  Your dispatchers did one hell of a job today.  I believe Jett made the call to switch all the agencies to a State MAC Channel.  This was huge, I was able to coordinate with all the agencies involved and mitigate the situation in a timely fashion.  In the day to day operations, we often forget to think about how hard other people are working to help us with our problem.  I just wanted to say “Thank You” to dispatch for an incredible job today and every day.  Please pass this on to your staff.

Victims Advocate

Victims Advocate Coordinator Goodwin began maternity leave June 27; she is scheduled to return to duty in early August.  In her absence, our three volunteers will be handling callouts and other routine duties.

Communications Center

Annette is working on the Sleuth upgrade, going through all the code tables to ensure they are correct and creating a new NIBRS table that is based on the Colorado CRS numbers.  Rick and Annette are also working on a process to get all the current inmate JRN numbers into the new system, and a plan to enter warrants into the system.  Training on the new system has been scheduled for all employees, and it’s critical that everyone attend.


Bob Fox has started his training as a dispatcher in the communications center.  He attended a forty-hour basic dispatching training sponsored by the Central Mountain Training Foundation.      

  Training attended

Annette attended the Rocky Mountain Computer Aided Dispatching (CAD) and Communications Symposium in Breckenridge.  Topics included Project Management and featured a round table session with other rural mountain agencies on issues with CAD, 911 and radio systems.  Several vendors were present for the event. 

Search and Rescue

A 41-year-old man suffered a head injury when the off-highway vehicle (OHV) he was riding overturned and pinned him beneath the machine.  The man, his wife, and their two eleven-year-old sons were on an excursion near the Mary Murphy mine above St. Elmo when the accident occurred.  The woman and two boys were able to lift the OHV off the man who had been rendered unconscious by the blow to his head.  The woman sent one of the boys running down the road to seek assistance as she and the other boy remained with the man.  Within a few minutes the boy encountered a group of several men and women attending training in wildfire fighting.  Half the group returned with the boy to the accident while others went to St. Elmo to summon assistance.  A Flight for Life helicopter met the patient and rescuers in St. Elmo and the man was flown to St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood.  The family was visiting from Yuma, Colorado.  The press release is on our website.

An intoxicated woman, 31, wandered away from her camping party near Turtle Rock at about 11:30pm.  Her friends reported her missing about three hours later.  Two search dogs from DOC responded, as well as several members from SAR North.  As the search was being coordinated, the woman text-messaged her friends that she was all right and returned to her campsite at about 4:30am, at which time the mission was terminated.

Two search and rescue missions were conducted over the FIBArk weekend.  On Saturday, rescuers responded to a call for help from a 48-year-old Denver man hiking near Pass Creek Lake.  After being called at 1pm, responders reached the injured man about two hours later and transported him to a vehicle using a Stokes litter.  He was treated at Heart of the Rockies Medical Center for a compound ankle fracture.  Nine Chaffee County Search and Rescue – South and three Chaffee County EMS personnel were involved in the mission.

The following day, Sunday, at about 10pm, Chaffee County Search and Rescue South was called out to Brown’s Canyon.  Ten members responded to assist a mother and three children, ages 7, 8, and 11 who had been dropped off on the railroad right of way by their rafting guide because the raft had begun taking on water. This was very late in the day and it soon got dark and cool, and all were lightly dressed.  Five responders using four ATVs and a rescue trailer responded up the railroad tracks to a point above Hecla Junction where the four were found.  They were all very cold and in need of food and drink.  They were brought out safely with all rescuers returning to the SAR bay at 3am.

Two search and rescue missions were conducted over the weekend of June 21-22.  On Saturday, a 30-year-old male resident of Cotopaxi was fishing from the banks of the Arkansas River near CR 102.  His foot got caught in some river debris, resulting in a broken ankle.  SAR, EMS, and South Arkansas Fire responded and transported him to the local hospital.

The next day, Sunday, a 24-year-old male resident of Albuquerque was hiking alone on the Missouri Gulch trail intending to summit Mount Belford.  Near the 13,000 foot level he became dehydrated and experienced severe cramping.  Search and rescue volunteers reached him, provided water and nourishment, and assisted him to his car at the trailhead.

A 31-year-old female visiting from Vernal, Utah was ejected from the raft she was in, along with six others.  Five were able to gain shore safely and one was rescued by a team of firefighters and a deputy, but the woman was swept away by the fast-flowing current.  An extensive search by members of several agencies failed to locate the woman.  Her body was finally recovered four days later approximately three miles downstream from the accident.  The press releases (two) are on our website.

A side note.  Lodging for the six survivors could not be found that evening, as all motels were completely booked.  The owner of Tudor Rose Bed and Breakfast put up all six of them at his facility overnight, at no charge. 

Records and Administration

Detention Facility

An inmate attempted to escape from the detention center earlier this month and in the process caused approximately $1000 in damage to his cell.  Under a plea agreement, he is to be sentenced to nine years in Department of Corrections for other offenses he’s charged with and the attempted escape charge will be dropped. 

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office replaced some of their inmate furniture and made their old modular furniture available to other agencies.  Sgt. Martinez contacted them and expressed our interest.  They wanted the furniture removed quickly and gladly donated the items to our facility.  Martinez took a truck and trailer and picked up the furniture, which was still in pretty good condition. 

Chaffee County Detentions Division investigated fifty-five incidents.  One criminal case was filed.  Two in-house rules violations were filed.


  Training Attended

Staff completed the first month of online training.  This month’s training was fourteen hours on the subject of Suicides in Prisons and Jails; including myths, reactions, identifying, preventing, and managing suicidal offenders.