Apr 4, 2011 7:00 PM by Matt Stafford
Budgets may be tight, but El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa says he needs a couple of big ticket items.
For large crime scenes in the future, Maketa hopes to have a new $400,000 mobile command unit in the next few weeks. That's what he's telling County Commissioners.
"I was giving the commissioners really just an advanced notice that we have secured about 50 percent of the grant funding," Maketa says, but he adds that he won't have to go to them for the rest of the money.
"We've been kind of saving money in one of our revenue lines," says Maketa. That's through fees from housing inmates from other agencies -- mostly Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "This money is dedicated for one time purchases, capital equipment, and maintenance type stuff."
The other purchase Maketa is looking at making is another building at the Criminal Justice Center, something they laid the foundation for 2 years ago. The original one was intended for inmate housing, but they saw a big need for detox at the time so they changed gears.
Back in 2009 Maketa's office was expecting 300 people coming in a month to use the detox facility.
"In the month of March we hit the 600 mark," Maketa said, emphasizing the need for more space. The need for inmate housing is still there too. Now they want to focus on both, with a building for each.
Local homeless advocate Bob Holmes sees a big pay off for investing in detox programs.
"Every time we get somebody cleaned up like that it saves an immense amount of money for tax payers because they aren't using police, fire, and emergency room services," says Holmes. He thinks as word gets out, even an additional building might not be enough.
"I can see a need for more beds in the future," says Holmes.
Sheriff Maketa agrees and wants to get to work now.
"We have the money today; let's move on it and we'll deal with what happens tomorrow then," Maketa says. He expects today's need to be there, and then some.
Maketa is expecting to finish the new building at the C.J.C. by around May or June.