The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office has been stepping up its fugitive apprehension efforts. Several months ago the Sheriff’s Office began updating their records of active arrest warrants into a digital records management database. This is the same program that patrol Deputies use for completing their reports. The patrol Deputies recently gained mobile access to this system after the Sheriff’s Office reached an agreement with Viaero Wireless to provide them with free tablets. Sheriff Chad Day says that now, his Deputies have access to information on active county warrants and offender photographs wherever they find themselves within the county.
Many of you may have noticed the increased presence on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page in recent months with their popular “Fugitive Friday” wanted posters. “The Facebook page has been very successful at helping us to solicit public assistance in locating some of our county’s wanted fugitives,” reports Sheriff Day. “To date we have apprehended 3 fugitives based upon tips from citizens via our Facebook page and we have received numerous tips on other fugitives that may lead to their apprehension in the near future.”
Although efforts have been made to clear up many of the county’s active arrest warrants, Sheriff Day states that further progress needs to be made. He reports that there are currently almost 200 active warrants in Yuma County, which is attributed to the increased 911 calls, investigative case load and number of arrests that have been made by his and other county law enforcement agencies. State statute requires that regardless of which law enforcement agency within the county initiates the criminal investigation, the Sheriff’s Office is ultimately responsible for the apprehension of all fugitives whose warrants are issued within Yuma County.
Facing resource shortages of staffing and funding to deal with the increased workload, Sheriff Day has had to utilize other resources in order to get the job done. Effective the beginning of this month, the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office has joined as a member agency of the U.S. Marshals Service Colorado Violent Offender Task Force, in which the U.S. Marshals Service makes efforts to apprehend the county’s most violent wanted fugitives no matter where they are found in the United States.
The program and the apprehension efforts are funded entirely by the U.S. Marshals Service. “It has always been my desire to work closely with County Sheriffs from around the state.” said United States Marshal John L. Kammerzell “Relationships such as these provide mutual benefit and it is our honor to work alongside Sheriff Day and the Deputies of the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office.”
The Sheriff’s Office has already begun collaboration with the Marshals Service to determine exactly which of the county’s nearly 200 fugitives the Marshals Service will assist with. Sheriff Day reports that his office will remain diligent in continually evaluating each new arrest warrant that is issued to determine if it is the type that is appropriate for taking advantage of this important resource.
The types of fugitives typically referred to the Marshals Service include fugitives who are wanted for serious crimes such as Aggravated Assault, Felony Menacing, Robbery, Sex Assault and Sex Assault on a Child. “This is a unique opportunity to enter into a relationship with the Marshals Service that will be of benefit to our county for years to come,” says Sheriff Day. “The Marshals Service has access to vast resources, making them a valuable ally in bringing justice to the victim’s of our most violent offenders.”