County gets more cops; D.A.’s coffer grows |

County gets more cops; D.A.’s coffer grows

J.K. Perry

EAGLE COUNTY – Sheriff Joe Hoy asked for seven new deputies, but when just two were approved by county commissioners, disappointment set in.”We’re all disappointed because we know we would like to do a better job for the community,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Kim Andree said. Andree said she sees both sides of the coin – while some people who complain there aren’t enough deputies, others say there are too many.County commissioners recently approved four new Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies – two Gypsum patrols and two deputies to guard the county courthouse. Commissioners also OK’d an increase in the Eagle County District Attorney’s budget.Sheriff Joe Hoy wanted five deputies for countywide enforcement and two for Gypsum. The town of Gypsum contracts with the sheriff’s office and pays for the two deputies.Despite the disappointment, the addition will free up deputies in other parts of the county, resulting in decreased response times and an increase in the number of calls the office can handle at once, Andree said.”It’s always good when we’re better able to serve the needs of the community,” Andree said.Sheriff’s personnel are currently hiring to fill the open positions.The addition of two courthouse deputies comes after District Judge Terry Ruckriegle ordered the Sheriff’s Office to provide a weapons-free and safe courthouse. The office determined nine additional deputies would be needed to secure the building, but county commissioners approved just two.”At this time we are doing what we can to meet the needs of the court order based on what the county provided to us,” Andree said.The District Attorney’s office received an additional $171,000 from the county, a 17.5 percent bump in funds. The increase brings the office’s total budget of $2.5 million, to which Eagle County contributes $1.1 million. The rest of the prosecutors’ budget comes from the three other counties in the Fifth Judicial District – Summit, Clear Creek and Lake. “Our salaries are lower than what we’re seeing in other jurisdictions in the mountains,” District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said. “This is so we can compete with other mountain districts.”In the past, retaining assistant attorneys was troublesome because of lower wages. When a position opened recently for an assistant attorney, a candidate took a higher paying position in Steamboat Springs.”I think this will help us,” Hurlbert said.Hurlbert also plans to hire two additional staff members with the increased funds, he said.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or, Colorado

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