Sheriff Will Close Payson Jail For Training

To send jail staff to training, the Gila County sheriff decided to close the Payson jail for eight days in May. As a result, Payson police will have to drive anyone arrested to the Globe jail, which will mean one or two officers will lose half a shift every time they take someone to jail.

Sheriff Adam Shepherd said he had no way to keep the Payson jail open and still send the staff to training in the Valley. Due to staff shortages last year, detention staff in Payson did not attend the training session. So this year Shepherd decided to shut down the satellite jail facility despite its effect on local law enforcement and the courts.

Shepherd said he does not think it will impact the Payson Police Department or the Gila County court system too much and neither organization has balked at the training. Besides PPD, DPS, Forest Service, Gila County probation and the Tonto Apache Police will have to take any arrest to the Globe jail themselves.

Payson Police Chief Don Engler said they support the GCSO training and have made plans to have additional officers on duty or work overtime to transport inmates to Globe. The PPD has holding cells. Any arrests made during the day that must be held in jail will likely be shipped to Globe at the end of the day so trips are limited. It takes at least four hours to drive to Globe and back and that does not include booking time.

To limit the number of new inmates, the PPD plans to do cite and release for non-violent arrests, which means a person is still arrested and must appear in court, they are just not booked in jail.

Engler said the number of arrests varies daily, but in a recent weekend, Payson Police made 10 arrests.

Engler plans to coordinate inmate shuttles with the GCSO.

The closure extends from May 10 to May 18. While the Arizona Jails Association annual conference only lasts four days, Shepherd said deputies decided to close the jail for a week because they need one day to ship the nine Payson inmates to Globe, get the jail closed down and then another day to get it reopened.

The cost to attend the conference is $275, plus $108 a night for lodging. The GCSO is paying for the training out of the jail enhancement fund, not the general fund.

The Payson jail currently has 14 full-time employees, of which about a dozen will attend the training in Chandler. That puts the cost of the training at about $4,600.

Shepherd said he looked at sending Globe staff to Payson to keep the jail open, but there are not enough employees to do so.

Shepherd said the training doesn’t address any specific problems in the jail, but will give staff the most up to date information on legislative changes and best practices.

After the event, Shepherd will determine if the benefit of the training was worth the disruption to the jail operations.

Article Source: