Law Enforcement – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Thu, 30 Jul 2020 16:42:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 http://www.pagosasun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/cropped-sun-logo-512x512-1-32x32.jpg Law Enforcement – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com 32 32 Law enforcement complex tour http://www.pagosasun.com/law-enforcement-complex-tour/ Sun, 02 Aug 2020 11:00:02 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=208035

SUN photos/John Finefrock and Randi Pierce

Archuleta County detention facility staff led Pagosa Springs SUN staff on a pre-opening tour of the Fred C. Harman III Law Enforcement Complex last week. The opening of the facility is slated for the fall.

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Jail will be understaffed when it opens http://www.pagosasun.com/jail-will-be-understaffed-when-it-opens/ Thu, 23 Jul 2020 11:00:03 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=207739

SUN photo/Randi Pierce
Above: The county’s new 54-bed jail is nearly finished and set to open around September. Archuleta County inmates are currently being housed at the La Plata County Jail in Durango. Left: The Archuleta County sheriff, undersheriff and other elected county officials discuss staffing numbers for the county’s new jail at the county commissioners’ work session on Tuesday morning.

By John Finefrock
Staff Writer

The county’s new jail will be understaffed when it opens around September, according to the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO).

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

SUN photo/John Finefrock

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Search and rescue missions help two individuals http://www.pagosasun.com/search-and-rescue-missions-help-two-individuals/ Wed, 15 Jul 2020 11:00:36 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=207083 By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

Two search and rescue missions were accomplished over the last week by local agencies to assist hikers with injured ankles.

On June 29 around 1:30 p.m., the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) received a page that there was a female subject who suffered an ankle injury on the Treasure Falls trail.

Deputy of Emergency Operations Wes Laverty described this hiker’s injury as an “unstable” ankle injury.

“It was definitely deformed and swollen,” he said.

Laverty noted he did not know exactly how the female hurt her ankle, but assumed “she tripped and fell.”

OEM personnel, as well as representatives from Upper San Juan Search and Rescue and Pagosa Springs Medical Center (PSMC) EMS, hiked up to the patient and delivered her to the ambulance around 2:40 p.m., Laverty described.

 On July 5, another female hiker was reported with an ankle injury, this time on the Piedra Falls trail.

The OEM received the page around 12:45 p.m. with personnel from OEM, Upper San Juan Search and Rescue and PSMC EMS arriving on scene around 1:40 p.m.

 This ankle injury was also described by Laverty as “unstable.”

The female hiker was delivered to the ambulance by 3:21 p.m., Laverty noted.

According to Laverty, the female twisted her ankle while hiking.

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Sheriff’s office discusses jail staffing, inmate health insurance http://www.pagosasun.com/sheriffs-office-discusses-jail-staffing-inmate-health-insurance/ Tue, 14 Jul 2020 11:00:53 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=207102 By John Finefrock
Staff Writer

On Tuesday, the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO)discussed inmate health insurance, staffing at the county’s new detention center and the county commissioners questioned the undersheriff about a payment request the ACSO made for BB guns that will be gifts for those involved with getting the new jail constructed.

Archuleta County Sheriff Rich Valdez told the county commissioners at a work session Tuesday morning that the ACSO received bids from three different medical providers to provide services to Archuleta County inmates once the new jail opens in a few months.

He said the best bid was from Turn Key Health, for services seven days a week for eight hours a day, which costs $88,000 for six months, which will be prorated down to a five-month premium.

“Our recommendation, after looking at all these is definitely Turn Key. [They meet] all the needs that we are requesting,” said Valdez, adding, “Turn Key also has a little bit better mental health program [compared to the other bids].”

Valdez said that Turn Key currently has one other contract in Colorado, with Weld County.

“Which is one of the good things because they — you know, we’re dealing with all this COVID stuff and they’ve already been right in the middle of that with Weld County,” he said.

Valdez reported that none of the local health providers in Pagosa Springs responded to ACSO’s solicitation of bids to be the medical provider for the new county jail.

Turn Key is currently preparing a contract that will be voted on by the county commissioners in the upcoming days, according to the ACSO.

Jail staffing

Archuleta County Undersheriff Derek Woodman also discussed staffing needs at the county’s new jail, set to open around September.

“Last year during the budget process, we did provide some additional requests for staffing,” Woodman said to the commissioners. “We were authorized three additional positions at the time and that was a detention commander, a kitchen manager, which we filled, and an admin assistant, which we filled that internally. So those positions are filled, however the discussion was we know that there is more likely than not additional staff needs as we move in to opening up the facility.”

Woodman said additional staffing at the jail “comes back to an officer safety [thing] as well as a functionality issue.” 

He noted he understands the county is currently under financial constraints, but the jail has crucial operational needs.

In a phone call Wednesday, Woodman explained that, currently, ACSO has been authorized by the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) for 10 personnel to staff the jail, plus two supervisors who are on duty for most shifts.

Woodman noted that with 10, the number of personnel would fluctuate between two and three people, plus the supervisors.

Woodman said the jail “cannot physically operate” with just two staffers plus the supervisors.

He noted that the allocated 10 staffers doesn’t include enough personnel for transport, to take inmates to the Archuleta County Courts currently being run out of Durango, or for relief if a staff member is on vacation or calls in sick.

Woodman explained that even with a kitchen manager hired for 40 hours a week, somebody else needs to be hired to supervise “trustee” inmates in the kitchen during the manager’s days off.

“Trustees” are sentenced inmates who meet a certain set of criteria related to their behavior and charges, and can help aid in the preparation of meals, according to Woodman.

Commissioner Steve Wadley asked if it was possible for the trustees to prepare meals without supervision.

“You just can’t throw the inmates in the kitchen and say, ‘Here’s a sharp knife. Go for it.’ There needs to be oversight,” Woodman said.

It is unclear if the BoCC will approve additional ACSO staff members to help run the jail.

BB guns

At the commissioners’ regular meeting on Tuesday afternoon, Wadley took issue with one payment request made by the ACSO that was in the commissioners’ accounts payable agenda item.

The ACSO had made a $1,385 payment request for 60 BB guns, which the ACSO planned to give out as gifts when the county’s new jail opens in a few months.

“I just wanted to get some explanation on 60 Red Ryder BB guns for a total of $1,385 and there may be a very just reason to buy ‘em, but I’m wondering if we could hear what the reason is,” said Wadley.

“Under the sheriff’s approved budget, he thought there would be a very appropriate, as honoria for the opening of the new detention facility, to honor some specific individuals, also including staff, for the commemorative opening of that facility,” Woodman said.

“Derek, I’m kinda caught in a tough spot,” Wadley said. “I understand that once you guys have the budget, it’s yours to spend, but the flip side is these things come before us for a review and I feel like I’m held accountable to the taxpayers and it’s $1,300 that you know, we’ve got a county full of potholes and a lotta needs in a lotta areas. I mean I just — I question it and I wondered what your thoughts are on it.”

“Well, it’s a $25-per-unit piece that goes to many different individuals, initially to you folks as well, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing and that was the justification for it,” said Woodman.

Woodman added later, “If this is something you guys don’t wish to approve, then please remove it from the request and the sheriff and I will personally pay for it and we’ll take care of it.”

“Derek, I’d be happy to kick in, personally. I’ll offer you $200 out of my own pocket, and please understand, I’m not trying to be a tough guy with this or try to make an issue out of it, but these things get reported and I feel like I’ve gotta stand to account on money that we spend. And I get it that we need it, it’s an event and if it’s a pen or a patch or something I wouldn’t care, but it just seems like a sizable amount, and if you’re looking for donors I’d be happy to contribute personally.”

Commissioners Maez and Schaaf also offered to pitch in $200 each.

The three county commissioners voted unanimously to approve the accounts payable agenda item with the exception of the invoice for the BB guns.

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Local man killed after attempted burglary in Durango http://www.pagosasun.com/local-man-killed-after-attempted-burglary-in-durango/ Thu, 09 Jul 2020 21:00:13 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=207091 By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

The man who died in an officer-involved shooting July 1 in Durango has been identified by the Durango Police Department (DPD) as Jason Noble Snow, of Pagosa Springs.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Back the Blues Cruise http://www.pagosasun.com/back-the-blues-cruise/ Thu, 09 Jul 2020 21:00:07 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=207122

SUN photos/Chris Mannara

Decorated vehicles cruise to show support for local law enforcement in the Back the Blues Cruise on July 3. One portion of the event passed the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office, where staff showed appreciation for the recognition. Routes also passed the Colorado State Patrol Office and Pagosa Springs Police Department.

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Yielding: It’s not a free-for-all http://www.pagosasun.com/yielding-its-not-a-free-for-all/ Wed, 08 Jul 2020 11:00:52 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=206755 By Master Trooper Gary Cutler
Colorado State Patrol

The word “yield” has many meanings throughout the English language. You can yield to the next speaker or the land can yield food from the garden. But today I bring up yield as in the road sign.

Too often, I find that drivers treat a yield sign as a free-for-all to go through intersections or turn onto other roads without even slowing. A yield sign allows a driver to reduce speed instead of having to come to a complete stop. Call a yield sign a small time-saver. But remember, it doesn’t mean you may not have to come to complete stop if necessary to yield right of way to any traffic on the roadway you are going to cross or enter. 

So, when approaching a yield sign, it means slowing to a reasonable speed, which allows you the ability to ascertain what is happening in the area. Ask yourself, did you give yourself enough time to accurately see if traffic is coming? Are there any pedestrians using the crosswalks? Do you have an acceleration lane or does it go directly into the lane of travel?

In my opinion, a good speed for a yield sign is quite often what I see when someone rolls through a stop sign. So, quick refresher there: Stop at a stop sign, and slow roll through the yield sign if its safe to do so.

Are you aware that when entering a roadway, that to do it safely and legally, you cannot alter the other vehicles’ pathway? This means causing them to slow from the speed they were going. Make sure you can get your vehicle up to the speed limit prior to another car coming up behind you as you enter that new road.

Now, let’s talk about what to do when an intersection has flashing yellow lights. This is another area I’ve seen drivers never even slow their speed when going through the intersection. This is highly dangerous. You need to know if the lights have malfunctioned and are showing yellow in all directions or if the road crossing your path is flashing red. Either way, those flashing lights require a driver to slow to a reasonable and safe speed to be able to once again ascertain how safe it is to proceed through the intersection.

“I now yield the floor.”

As always, safe travels. 

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Man found deceased following residential fire http://www.pagosasun.com/man-found-deceased-following-residential-fire/ Fri, 03 Jul 2020 16:02:40 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=206802 A man was found deceased in a residence following a fire on Ute Drive in Aspen Springs Unit 5 area on July 1, according to Archuleta County Coroner Brandon Bishop.

“Upon arrival, the first due engine completed a scene size up noting a fully involved residential structure as well as a fully involved outbuilding with fire spreading in the surrounding vegetation and one additional structure threatened,” states a Pagosa Fire Protection District press release from July 1.

Both structures were lost in the fire with the brush fire contained to approximately one-quarter acre.

The name of the deceased male has not been released. An autopsy is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Tuesday in Durango.

Updates will be made when additional information becomes available. 

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Fireworks prohibited in county and town, county fire restrictions in place http://www.pagosasun.com/fireworks-prohibited-in-county-and-town-county-fire-restrictions-in-place-2/ Fri, 03 Jul 2020 11:00:04 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=206743 By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

On May 20 Archuleta County enacted Stage 1 fire restrictions, and within those restrictions, personal fireworks “of any kind” are prohibited.

“Personal fireworks are prohibited under the Stage 1 fire ban that we’re in. We’ll be out and about on routine patrol and they’ll be enforcing that, for sure,” Archuleta County Sheriff Rich Valdez said in an interview on Wednesday.

Archuleta County Undersheriff Derek Woodman noted in an interview Wednesday that Archuleta County’s fire ordinance is where the prohibition of personal fireworks is.

“Anytime a fire ban is put in place, whether it’s a one, two or three, fireworks are always prohibited under that ordinance,” Woodman said.

The ordinance also outlines that, regardless of location, open burning, burn barrels, agricultural burning and the use of explosive materials are also prohibited.

Outside of developed areas, the fire restrictions advise citizens to contact their local ranger district, the Bureau of Land Management or the Southern Ute Indian Tribe for the latest restrictions.

Fire danger across the region is rated as extreme. Fire restrictions are also in place on the San Juan National Forest, for tribal lands and in neighboring areas.

In developed areas within unincorporated Archuleta County, charcoal fires in suitable containers, gas grills for barbecues at residences, camp stoves, grills or lights fueled by bottled gas, and fires in permanent fire pits are allowed.

Fire pits must have a 4-foot clearance from combustible materials.

Fires must be attended, and citizens should have firefighting tools and five gallons of water available.

Smoking is limited to vehicles, buildings, developed recreational areas or 3-foot wide areas that are clear of vegetation.

Internal combustion engines must have spark arrestors, and cutting and welding operations must have fire hand tools, 40 pounds’ worth of fire extinguishers or a pressurized water supply on hand, as well as a fire watch standing by.

Flaring for production wells is allowed, but citizens must contact dispatch, and compliance with the Rules for Fire Prevention and Protection must be met.

The county’s fire restrictions do not apply to the Town of Pagosa Springs unless town council were to adopt the same restrictions, Pagosa Springs Police Department Chief William Rockensock explained in an interview Wednesday.

“We do have fireworks restrictions. We have always had fireworks restrictions. They are completely prohibited in the town, and if we catch you with them, you will receive a summons to appear in court,” Rockensock said.

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Fireworks prohibited in county and town, county fire restrictions in place http://www.pagosasun.com/fireworks-prohibited-in-county-and-town-county-fire-restrictions-in-place/ Thu, 02 Jul 2020 16:43:23 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=206610 By Chris Mannara
Staff Writer

On May 20 Archuleta County enacted Stage 1 fire restrictions, and within those restrictions, personal fireworks “of any kind” are prohibited.

“Personal fireworks are prohibited under the Stage 1 fire ban that we’re in. We’ll be out and about on routine patrol and they’ll be enforcing that, for sure,” Archuleta County Sheriff Rich Valdez said in an interview on Wednesday.

Archuleta County Undersheriff Derek Woodman noted in an interview Wednesday that Archuleta County’s fire ordinance is where the prohibition of personal fireworks is.

“Anytime a fire ban is put in place, whether it’s a one, two or three, fireworks are always prohibited under that ordinance,” Woodman said.

The ordinance also outlines that, regardless of location, open burning, burn barrels, agricultural burning and the use of explosive materials are also prohibited.

Outside of developed areas, the fire restrictions advise citizens to contact their local ranger district, the Bureau of Land Management or the Southern Ute Indian Tribe for the latest restrictions.

Fire danger across the region is rated as extreme. Fire restrictions are also in place on the San Juan National Forest, for tribal lands and in neighboring areas.

In developed areas within unincorporated Archuleta County, charcoal fires in suitable containers, gas grills for barbecues at residences, camp stoves, grills or lights fueled by bottled gas, and fires in permanent fire pits are allowed.

Fire pits must have a 4-foot clearance from combustible materials.

Fires must be attended, and citizens should have firefighting tools and five gallons of water available.

Smoking is limited to vehicles, buildings, developed recreational areas or 3-foot wide areas that are clear of vegetation.

Internal combustion engines must have spark arrestors, and cutting and welding operations must have fire hand tools, 40 pounds’ worth of fire extinguishers or a pressurized water supply on hand, as well as a fire watch standing by.

Flaring for production wells is allowed, but citizens must contact dispatch, and compliance with the Rules for Fire Prevention and Protection must be met.

The county’s fire restrictions do not apply to the Town of Pagosa Springs unless town council were to adopt the same restrictions, Pagosa Springs Police Department Chief William Rockensock explained in an interview Wednesday.

“We do have fireworks restrictions. We have always had fireworks restrictions. They are completely prohibited in the town, and if we catch you with them, you will receive a summons to appear in court,” Rockensock said.

chris@pagosasun.com

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