Monday, May 8, 2017

Correctional Officers Week: Honoring our detention deputies

Commissioners Scott McInnis,
John Justman, Rose Pugliese,
Sheriff Matt Lewis,and Capt. Art Smith.
MESA COUNTY, Colo. — Join us in honoring the dedicated men and women who work tirelessly to keep the Mesa County Detention Facility running smoothly.

This morning, the Mesa County Board of Commissioners declared May 7-13 Correctional Officers Week recognizing the professionalism and dedication of our detention deputies and staff.  Sheriff Matt Lewis and Captain Art Smith accepted today's Proclamation on behalf the Sheriff's Office.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan created National Correctional Officers Week to honor the work of correctional officers and correctional personnel nationwide. In Mesa County, this group of professionals are known as detention deputies.

Local jails like the Mesa County Detention Facility, are complex organizations. On a basic level, a jail must provide its inmate population a number of services, including three meals a day, medical and mental health care, clothing and linens, visitation, recreation, religious programs, as well as access to courts and attorneys. Complicating this task is the diversity of needs within the increasing inmate population while maintaining the safety and security of the 24-hour facility. In 2016, the Mesa County Detention Facility processed nearly 6,000 people and provided more than 480,000 meals.

Mesa County Deputy Amanda Erkman
posts the colors during the BOCC meeting
“Our detention deputies and staff play a critical role in keeping the detention facility safe for both inmates and staff,” said Capt. Art Smith. “They do a difficult job that not a lot of people want to do nor have the compassion to do. That’s why it’s important for us to stop and say ‘Thank You.’”

Being a detention officer can be a very dangerous job. The names of 689 correctional officers are engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. One of those names is Deputy Edward Innes, who was killed by an inmate escaping the Mesa County jail in 1906. A wreath first displayed in the Mesa County Sheriff's Office lobby, will be placed on Innes' grave this week to honor and remember his sacrifice.

Please join us this week in thanking all detentions professionals for not only what they do, but more importantly the personal sacrifices they make to ensure our community remains a safe place to live, work and play.