• The District Conference is on Saturday, Apr 27.
• President Elect Dean McCall went to PETS over the weekend. He said it was worthwhile because he learned a lot. He thought it would be nice if the District would provide a checklist of things that need to be accomplished during the year.
• There is a link on the website to sign up to help at the St. Patrick’s Day party. Tickets are also available on the website. Please buy tickets in advance to help determine the amount of food we need.
• There is also a link on the website to sign up to help at the Foothills Home, Garden & Lifestyle Show. Tickets are free.
• The District 5450 Area 8 Assembly will take place on April 3 at El Rancho. The cost is $25 per person plus beverages, which will be priced at happy hour pricing.
• Alateen meets at Conifer High School on Thursdays at 5:00 p.m. It is a support group for those affected by drinking or drug use. It is open to anyone up to age 18.
Program: Jeff Shrader, Jeffco Sheriff
By nature, the Sheriff’s office is reactive because it needs something on which to take action. That notwithstanding, the Jeffco Sheriff tries to be proactive.
After a 20 year decline, crime has been trending up and is up by 25% recently. In an attempt to be more proactive, the Sheriff’s office looks every month at what is going on in different areas and what issues are most prevalent. They have observed that increases in property crime are most prevalent. They believe the roots of the increase are threefold: (1) substance abuse is on the rise, particularly opioids; (2) mental health issues are also on the rise; and (3) homelessness.
Also in an attempt to be proactive, the Sheriff’s office looks at the population in the county jail. There are approximately 25,000 people booked into the county jail each year. In 2015, 100 inmates per month were on opioid withdrawal protocol. In 2016, that number had increased to 200 per month and, in 2017-2018, it was up to 300 per month. 45,000 to 60,000 people die each year because of opioids. Opioid addiction has had an effect on the crime trend.
The Sheriff noted that when Amendment 64 (recreational marijuana) passed, it was thought drug cartels would disappear, but things have shifted instead. There is now a large organization of approximately 800 in-home grows throughout the Front Range. Colorado marijuana has become valuable in other states because of the strains that are grown and the level of THC they contain. On the coast of Florida, for example, Colorado marijuana is worth about $7,500 per pound and it is a “fashion statement” in Mexico City.
The Sheriff must react to what is going on in the communities. His office tries to predict where crimes will happen based on recent activity and using targeted data, which helps.
On Nov 11, 2017, the Sheriff’s office opened a veterans housing unit in the county jail. Jeffco does not have a large population of veterans, but some of them have found their way into trouble, perhaps as a result of PTSD. They find themselves homeless, find themselves abusing substances, and may they have mental health issues. The veterans housing unit provides support and treatment. It has become the most well-behaved housing unit in the county jail. The inmates self-regulate because they are used to a code of conduct. They also want the privilege of staying in the unit where there are military flags on wall and the doors stay open longer. In addition, people come into the unit to teach classes. Interactions with deputies have improved and rates of recidivism have dropped by as much as 50%. The unit has resources to help identify housing for the veterans when they leave the jail.
Following the improved behavior in the veterans housing unit, the next two units have become more well-behaved. The county jail has since opened a behavioral health unit (addiction beds). There are two 64-bed modules. The inmates receive moral recognition therapy (MRT). MRT is the program with the most hope for success. It relies on moral reasoning, teaching people to think and process what they are facing. Where it has been used in other counties, and particularly in prison, recidivism rates have dropped. The prisoners agree to participate. The Sheriff’s office believes it is a worthwhile investment because it doesn’t cost anything extra and it potentially reduces the jail population. Like the veterans housing unit, these two housing units have better behaved populations and the inmates can gain additional privileges.
The Sheriff reported that 95% of the people booked into county jail will get out. Some of them will transfer to the Colorado Department of Corrections, but they are the rare ones. Inmates can be held in the county jail pre-trial and then for a maximum of 2 years on each charge after conviction (typically, sentencing to the county jail for multiple charges is not consecutive). The Sheriff’s office needs to transition people back into the community, especially those who have been in custody for a couple of years. 
The Sheriff follows what is going on in the Legislature. There may be some changes, some of which may be beneficial. He believes we have a pretty thoughtful process, but he wants to weigh in on things in advance. He observed that California had several things happen at once, including a transfer of prisoners from prison to county jail, which changed the shape of things. The Colorado Legislature is currently looking at prison reform. There are questions about whether we have a sufficient number of prison beds. Prisoners may be released earlier and put on parole and a prison that was closed may be reopened. The Sheriff does not want the cost of housing prisoners in Colorado to shift from the state to local taxpayer dollars. The Legislature is also looking at bail reform.
We are unfortunately seeing an unprecedented number of officer-involved shootings in the state. One of them was a JeffCo deputy. The driver of a car was driving it a the deputy and he shot the driver. The passenger then appeared to be reaching for a weapon and the deputy shot the passenger as well. The Sheriff wants to understand what is happening so his deputies can avoid the use of deadly force. It is his theory that most of the people involved in the officer-involved incidents have had experience in criminal justice system and have an attitude. He would like to identify the underlying problem so people can figure out what to do.