CSP temporarily curtails inmate work program following escape from Academy maintenance shop

Authorities searching for Kenneth Gomez, pickup

GOLDEN, Colo. - The Colorado State Patrol has temporarily curtailed its inmate work program after an inmate, who was working as a mechanic in the CSP auto maintenance shop, grabbed a set of keys, hopped into a pickup truck and took off.

"The inmates are no longer at Camp George West," said Sgt. Mike Baker.  "Whether it be at our Academy or in the garage. They are in the D.O.C. facility indefinitely until we can make changes, or determine if changes need to be made."

Authorities say Kenneth W. Gomez, 30, is one of about 20 inmates that the Department of Corrections contracts out to the State Patrol for work as porters, mechanics or kitchen staff.

It's considered part of inmate rehabilitation.

Baker said three inmates were in the garage yesterday.  He said supervisors make visual contact and engage the inmates every 15 minutes.

He said they interacted with Gomez at 10:15 a.m., and that when they did the next visual check at 10:30, he was gone.

When asked if they need to make changes to protocol, Baker replied, "That's what we're trying to determine... it's going to take more than a day or two."

Baker said Gomez, who was placed in the minimum security Colorado Correction Center at Camp George West following a burglary and assault conviction in Jefferson County, drove off in a red 2003 GMC Sonoma extended cab pickup with Colorado license plate number 282-EXJ.

Baker said there was no police gear inside.

"There were no flashing lights, no emergency equipment, no weapons, no nothing inside,” he said. “It was just a red pickup truck.”

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Alison Morgan said the remaining inmates probably don't look favorably on Gomez' escape.

She said those in minimum security earn privileges from hard work.

"They don't want those privileges taken away," Morgan said.

Even though the Colorado Correction Facility is a minimum security facility, Morgan said Gomez could pose a danger, “because he decided to leave.”

She said Gomez is not believed to be armed, but said anyone who sees him should not make contact, but should instead contact authorities.

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