Inmates being moved due to staff shortage
The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office has announced that jail operations will have to be scaled back significantly, effective immediately. This change is a result of a manpower shortage.
There are only currently 13 approved positions to operate the Yuma County Jail, plus one programs coordinator position that also assisted with jail operations. This staff also has responsibility for security operations in the Yuma County and District courts, security in the courthouse, and all inmate transports.
In anticipation of the coming change of administration in 2019, many of the then current Sheriff’s Office staff have pursued and taken advantage of other opportunities, with more indicating their intention to do the same.
The YCSO reports that as a result, it is not safe to maintain the normal operational capacity of the facility without making some adjustments. The majority of inmates have been contracted to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
The remaining staff are tasked with maintaining the jail for any new bookings and for inmates that will be housed for minimal time-frames generally.
Those wishing to visit inmates should refer to the “inmate info” section of the Sheriff’s Office website, yumacountysheriff.net to confirm the housing location of inmates they wish to visit.
It is worth noting that Sheriff Chad Day has been asked why he isn’t filling the vacant positions in order to keep the jail at full operating capacity.
He responded that historically, it is considered unfair, insensitive, and inappropriate for an outgoing sheriff to sign contracts, make major decisions, or hire new staff on behalf of the incoming sheriff. Additionally, the time required to train new staff safely is such that the staffing levels in the jail would still not be sufficient to keep all of the Yuma County inmates here through the end of the year. Applications will be solicited and accepted to pass along to the incoming administration for their evaluation and consideration.
“It is certainly not an optimal situation, but it would not be fair to Mr. Combs for me to hire people on his behalf,” Day said. “We will continue to do the very best we can with the staff we have to maintain a facility that is safe for inmates and staff, but right now that necessitates an adjustment. Unfortunately, this problem is a natural consequence of the type of campaign season we experienced here.”
Day lost to Todd Combs in the Republican primary election in June. He is nearing the end of his second four-year term. Combs, who retired last year from the Colorado State Patrol, will be sworn-in as Yuma County Sheriff in January.