• AURORA, Colo. – Police Chief Dan Oates says, “The streets aren’t as safe as they were before this weekend,” because of the release of six jail prisoners.

    “Some of them have extensive histories of doing much more serious crimes,” Oates says.

    Oates says the six prisoners would still be in custody if Adams County leaders would cooperate. He says Aurora had no choice but to release the prisoners because of Sheriff Doug Darr’s prisoner cap and his refusal to take municipal cases at the county jail.

    “This is a total failure of Adams County leadership,” Oates said. “Since May of last year, the county has rejected 121 Aurora prisoners.”

    “The Sheriff’s Office will not further jeopardize the safety of its personnel or inmates to accommodate low-level, non-violent, municipal ordinance offenders, with the exception of municipal offenders authorized within the 30 cap approved by the county resolution,” wrote Sgt. Paul Gregory, spokesman for the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

    One of the six inmates now on the streets is Norman Adams, who was released 52 days early. His record includes 35 past arrests.

    There’s also James Adkins, who was released 71 days early. His 62 prior arrests include assault and battery.

    “Regardless of what their criminal pasts might include, these six offenders are not serving sentences for serious or felonious crimes,” wrote Gregory. “These inmates that the city of Aurora has chosen to release were arrested in Aurora, charged in Aurora, and convicted in Aurora municipal courts. “

    Aurora has contracted with Denver to house some prisoners that the Adams County Jail wouldn’t accept, but because of overcrowding Denver has decided to end the agreement with Aurora.

    Oates says Aurora taxpayers have spent $134,000 to house prisoners in other facilities, but now his city has not been able to find a replacement.

    In a strongly worded letter to the sheriff, Aurora’s mayor said, “It’s hard to understand… and we can only hope the gravity of the situation can persuade those elected to govern.”

    Of the six inmates released Monday, only half live in Aurora.

    “It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that that person, with this shortened sentence, is going to be out there almost certainly committing more crimes and victimizing more people,” Oates said.

    Aurora, Commerce City, Northglenn, Thornton and Federal Heights have filed suit against Adams County.

    Nearly a year ago, after five police chiefs spoke out about Adams County’s cap on inmates, Sheriff Darr spoke out about the subject. He said the cap is based on his office having an insufficient number of deputies for guarding a larger population.

    “What does that mean when you’re not properly staffed and you have violent offenders in your jail? The issues of safety become more important,” the sheriff said at that May 29, 2013, news conference.

    At that time, Darr also raised concerns about inmates sent to the jail for noncompliance with city ordinances. Those included rabies tag violations on pets, use of obscene language, seatbelt violations and open container violations, he said.

     

    – Full March 3, 2014 comment from the Sheriff’s Office –

    “The Adams County Sheriff’s Office has a responsibility to keep all employees and inmates safe.  Unfortunately, inadequate staffing has resulted in a substantial safety issue.  The Sheriff’s Office will not further jeopardize the safety of its personnel or inmates to accommodate low-level, non-violent, municipal ordinance offenders, with the exception of municipal offenders authorized within the 30 cap approved by the county resolution.

    “These six inmates were not in the custody of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office for their current municipal ordinance violations.  Regardless of what their criminal pasts might include, these six offenders are not serving sentences for serious or felonious crimes.  These inmates that the city of Aurora has chosen to release were arrested in Aurora, charged in Aurora, and convicted in Aurora municipal courts.  These offenders are the responsibility of the city of Aurora.

    “The city of Aurora is choosing not to house these particular inmates in their city jail, which they may, according to Colorado law.  Nothing in Colorado law prevents the city of Aurora from working and complying with the regulatory standards to use their city detention facility on a full time basis. The city of Aurora is very capable of housing such inmates in their 220 bed detention facility, but they are choosing not to do so.  As of 4:28 pm on March 3, 2014, the city of Aurora was housing 43 municipal offenders in their detention facility.

    “Considering pending litigation, our comments on this issue must be limited.”

    http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/front-range/aurora/aurora-releases-6-prisoners-early-police-chief-oates-blames-adams-county-sheriffs-policies

    Posted by Dana West @ 5:45 pm for Adams County Politics |

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