It has been a busy two months since taking office on January 8th. First of all I would like to take a moment to thank the citizens of Yuma County for being patient with us as we make this transition and bear with us as we make some changes. The Board of County Commissioners, Andrea Calhoon, the county administrator and the other elected officials have been a great resources to draw from as I learn my way around budgeting, personnel issues and other unseen issues that have arisen. While the transition itself was mostly smooth there were a few bumps in the road but we are working through some of the complications. The staff at the Sheriff’s Office are a strong team and have helped me immensely to acclimate to my role as your Sheriff. Molly Brunk and Suzan Weed, who man the front office, have both thrown their full effort into looking at things with a critical eye and seeing if we need to change our methods of business, for that I am grateful. We have revamped and streamed lined many of the processes at the office and are working to provide better and prompt services to the citizens of Yuma County. We are working on a new Website and hope to have it up and running soon. We will also include the inmate information that has been put on hold at this time. I have come to understand this was a very popular feature of the website and will reinstate it on the new website.
Joe Wells, Jail Sergeant, has worked hard to get new staff hired in order to get our inmates back from Washington County. After streamlining our hiring process we were able to hire two brand new deputies for the jail, Matt Yost and Jason Allacher. He also hired Shannon Petterson as a Jail deputy and she was put into the schedule quickly due to her past experience in the jail. Levi Witte was promoted to Corporal in the jail to fill that empty position. Sgt. Wells has built a good team to handle the inmates housed by Yuma County and I have full confidence in his leadership. The jail has booked in 47 people so far this year. Some of those are still housed at Washington County which has kept the jail staff busy transporting inmates back and forth. After getting our new hires through their necessary training we should be able to bring our inmates back to Yuma County.
Undersheriff Larry Gilliland is in charge of the patrol division. We hired Matt Allacher as a patrol deputy to join with the other three deputies already providing good service to the county. His hiring will help fill one of the three open positions on the patrol side. We are still looking to fill two positions with one of those to be stationed in the southern part of the county. We are currently looking for POST certified officers. The starting annual salary is approximately $41,000 to start and could be more depending on experience. If you are interested please contact us at 970-332-4805 for an application. So far in 2019 the deputies have pulled approximately 52 case numbers so far this year as compared to 39 last year. Served approximately 58 civil papers and had 685 responses to calls according to W-Y Communication Center.
I have been asked about my opinion on the “Red Flag” bill (HB 19-1177) that is being debated at the Capital. This bill would allow people to report a person for being a danger to themselves or to others and subsequently that person would have their guns confiscated. This bill bypasses due process and doesn’t give the accused person a chance to refute the claims of the other person before his guns are confiscated. This leads to issues with not only the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution but also the 4th and 5th Amendments which deal with the search and seizure of persons or property and due process. A person can lose their 2nd Amendment Rights, an example is a person convicted of a felony, but it is after due process has been followed. The accuser should not have more say than the accused or the other way around. This bill addresses a symptom and not the problem, which is the mental health crisis in our nation. If the legislators wish to help the situation, fund more mental health professionals and facilities throughout the state were law enforcement can send people who need help and write laws that are enforceable without violating the Constitution I have sworn an oath to protect. I do not and will not support this bill because of failure to recognize the rights of the citizens of this nation which are guaranteed under the Constitution.
Thank you for your patience as the new administration moves forward to give you good law enforcement in Yuma County.
-Sheriff T.C. Combs