JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. – The Jefferson County sheriff on Tuesday signed an order and a declaration to deputize all eligible police officers in the county through the end of May and to implement arrest standards changes during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Through May 31, every POST-certified peace officer who works for a law enforcement agency within Jefferson County – which would include Lakewood, Golden, Wheat Ridge, Edgewater, Morrison and more – and is in good standing with the department can perform their duties across the county when another agency or officer asks for help.
“This action is intended to facilitate sharing of resources between agencies located in Jefferson County and maximize the law enforcement community’s ability to keep our communities safe during these unprecedented circumstances,” Sheriff Jeff Shrader wrote in his declaration.
The officers will still be required to adhere to their agency’s policies and procedures, and the county and sheriff’s office will not be liable for the officers’ salary, worker’s compensation or insurance, according to the declaration.
The sheriff’s office said that executive officers from each agency will meet twice a week to share information.
Additionally, Shrader changed arrest standards until further notice for any people who might otherwise be booked into the jail for a variety of reasons. The changes include:
--No misdemeanor or municipal custodial arrests unless charges require an advisement
--No traffic-related warrant arrests
--No first-time DUI or DWAI arrests unless “no reasonable alternative can be found.” Second or beyond drinking and driving offenses will be accepted into the jail.
--No county court or municipal warrant arrests unless they involve a crime under the Victim Rights Act.
--Felony warrant arrests will be accepted but officers and deputies are asked to use discretion and account for the underlying original violation.
--Arrests for non-violent felonies would only be accepted if there is a direct threat to public safety. Summonses are otherwise recommended.
--Officers should not take into account a person’s likelihood of complying with a court summons when determining if that person should be arrested.
The sheriff’s office tells people who have outstanding warrants to contact the county from where the warrant was issued and to arrange a court date to address the charges. Once the new standards are lifted, which will be at the sheriff’s discretion, “any leniency afforded through them will no longer apply,” the sheriff’s office said.
“While these actions are not ideal, we have to make preparations and take preventative measures to best ensure the public’s safety as well as that of first responders,” Sheriff Shrader said in a statement. “Due to multiple collaborative efforts already in existence, such as the regional crime lab, dispatch center, and law enforcement training academy, I am confident any peace officer in the county can work effectively in any agency’s jurisdiction to enforce the new arrest standards and help ensure Jefferson County remains safe for everyone.”
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