Private firm takes over Eagle County Justice Center security
Eagle Valley Enterprise
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – Eagle County was prepared to spend up to $140,000 this year to reinstate courthouse security. However, the contract with Citadel Security and Investigations LLC ended up being much lower.
This year, the county will pay a maximum of $104,000 for security at the justice center.
The money for those operations previously came out of the sheriff’s budget. At that time, the sheriff’s office faced budgetary woes and a $32.8 million jail expansion was being finished. The new jail wing closed in November because there weren’t enough prisoners.
As the purse strings tightened up, Sheriff Joe Hoy let the courthouse security lapse in August 2010. State court officials and court staff with the 5th Judicial District then made it clear they wanted the protection.
“We had to have some form of security. It’s critical for people like judges and lawyers to be able to do their jobs and feel safe,” Hoy said. “Hiring a private firm to handle it turned out to be more economical because of the deputies’ benefits and the hours they are already working.”
Citadel Security went to work at the Eagle County Justice Center on Jan. 1.
“We’re happy to be there,” said Citadel’s vice president, Brent Jagger. “A lot of national and international companies expressed interest, and it was nice to see a local company get the contract.”
Citadel is based in Rifle.
The county shuffled things around and the $104,000 now comes out of the general facilities fund, said Eagle County Finance Director John Lewis.
“Cutting security accounted for about half of the budget cuts that the sheriff was asked to make,” Lewis said. “Using the facilities fund to pay for security freed up the sheriff’s budget again, so we made him cut a little more.”
Those additional cuts came in the form of jobs, which resulted in less employee training and fewer supplies being used, Hoy said.
Citadel wasn’t the lowest bidder for the security contract, said Tom Johnson, Eagle County’s public works director.
“We did not go with the lowest bid because we didn’t feel that the company did its homework,” Johnson said.
The low-bidder was Olympic Security Services Inc., based in Washington.
“We were concerned about Olympic’s ability to keep a stable workforce here, whereas Citadel is just down the road in Rifle,” Johnson said. “Olympic does have an office in Denver and has worked here in the past, but it was also less familiar with some of the equipment we use.”
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