Parole officers forced to work extra security detail for Department of Corrections officials

DENVER, Colo. - Community parole officers, usually assigned to round up parole violators, are being forced to work more hours, not to round up absconders, but to protect Colorado Department of Corrections leaders.

Emails obtained by CALL7 Investigator Theresa Marchetta show a top manager requiring staff to volunteer for extra duty or be assigned a shift.

DOC spokeswoman Alison Morgan disputes those claims, saying they do not discuss any security matters, but if security detail was being assigned it would be voluntary.   

But  the CALL7 Investigators have obtained emails that show parole officers need to sign up for those extra shifts or be assigned.

In an April 8 email sent to the entire staff at the Department of Corrections, a manager states, “if no volunteers come forward, those shifts will become assigned duty.” The email asks staff members who are POST certified -- those who have received Peace Officer Standards and Training -- to sign-up for extra shifts.

The sender writes, “This is an opportunity for you to volunteer to help shoulder the responsibility by picking shifts you would like to work.”

It continues, “With all the other duties we all have, we know and appreciate that this will stretch us even further.”

With the killing of the Department of Corrections Chief Tom Clements last month, the state is pushing efforts to round up parole violators, approving funding for increased operations through the next fiscal year.  These operations will also be conducted by parole officers during overtime hours.

Law enforcement officers investigating Clements’ murder believe parolee Evan Ebel killed Clements after he answered his front door at his Monument home.  

Ebel was killed in a shootout in Texas with police near Dallas on March 21, two days after Clements’ murder and a full 5 days after he went off the grid, failing to call into the parole system and cutting off his ankle monitor.

As 7NEWS first reported, at the end of March, the DOC reported 667 absconders out of 9,490 Colorado parolees; DOC records show 29 of those having gang ties.

CALL7 Investigators have asked, in light of parole officers’ self-described "heavy workloads" already, how officers will manage more forced overtime, but we haven’t received answers from the DOC.