David L. Rhodes, Sheriff
Jeffrey A. Newnum, Chief Deputy
255 East Gurley Street
Prescott, AZ 86301
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office is committed to the prevention of crime, protection of life and property, preservation of peace, order, and safety, enforcement of laws and ordinances, and the safeguarding of constitutional guarantees. With customer service as our foundation, we work to solve community problems that effect public safety. We also strive to provide a safe, secure, and constitutionally adherent environment for housing individuals arrested throughout Yavapai County.
The performance of the Law Enforcement Services Division (LESD) is measured, in large part, by monitoring the number of calls for service, response times, number of officer-initiated calls, suspect apprehensions and cases closed. In Calendar Year 2021, YCSO responded to 45,303 total incidents. This is a 3% increase over 2020. In 2021, our telecommunications center received 47,543 calls to 911, which was a 13% increase over 2020.
Additionally, LESD has continued to see an increase in critical incidents and subsequent critical incident resource call outs over prior years. These resources are necessary due to the complexity and the necessity for multiple Deputy response as well as, at times, specialized training, equipment, or technology. Often, these events necessitate the shifting of patrol coverage to respond to the critical incident. This often leaves outlying areas without law enforcement coverage for extended periods of time.
One example of critical incident resource callouts is our YCSO SWAT team. YCSO saw a slight decrease in full SWAT team deployments between 2020 (10) and 2021 (8). However, we saw a significant increase of twenty-seven (27) Quick Response Team Callouts, which is a resource implemented in 2020 to assist patrol in critical incidents that do not rise to the level of a full SWAT team deployment but still necessitate additional resources, equipment, and specialized training.
We have struggled to maintain adequate patrol staffing throughout 2021 despite efforts to increase recruitment and retention. At one point, patrol was down over 20 Deputy positions, which equates to an entire area command. Yavapai County has seen a significant increase in population which has brought higher traffic volume and a consistent increase in residential building permits in the unincorporated areas. Due to this population growth, we have seen increased response times for critical calls such as injury accidents, assaults, and family fights. Response times to these calls are averaging approximately 16 minutes for law enforcement to arrive but are, at times, as high as 35 minutes.
We continue to enjoy a great partnership with our mental health professionals to deflect criminal prosecution for individuals where mental health is the primary concern. We rolled out a “co-response” protocol which allows us to get our mobile crisis response partners enroute sooner to provide quick intervention, as well as resources, for those suffering a mental health crisis.
Recruitment and Selection
In an effort to modernize our advertising and outreach efforts, this team has been very proactive in creating a sorely needed social media presence on Instagram and Facebook. Additionally, they have sought out new advertising venues never explored before by the Sheriff’s Office. They continually assess the effectiveness of these efforts and adjust as needed. They have streamlined the application process and reduced the number of days to hire a new employee from the anticipated 67 days, as published in the Chinn Report, to around 30. This year, they received 1,579 applications and processed 452 applicants through the testing process.
While the number of processes received and served increased slightly, the two Deputies assigned as Civil Deputies were sent back to patrol due to personnel shortages, to assist with responding to calls for most of the calendar year. Additionally, Covid impacted the two Civil Process Coordinators, often-times leaving only one in the office to handle twice the workload. The Civil Section, however, was able to keep up with the high demands placed upon them by the courts, through their hard work and dedication as well as the help received from Patrol Deputies.
Despite the high turnover this year, mandated overtime for remaining employees, and the stress inherent to this job, our Communications Section still handled an additional 6,100+ more calls than last year, several critical incidents (officer involved shootings, suicides, etc.) not to mention tens of thousands of calls from the public for non-emergency related issues
Criminal Investigations Bureau
YCSO detectives were assigned 249 cases this year and closed out 266 (which included cases carried over from the prior year). Of the cases assigned, 239 were “Solved”. These cases included child molests, rapes, incest for pay, several homicides, as well as attempted homicides and kidnappings. Some stand out cases and examples of the outstanding teamwork CIB enjoyed included finalizing the investigation into the “Body Dump” case that began in December of 2020; taking the lead for another agency after one of their officers committed suicide; identifying a suspect (who was unknown to the victim) and making an arrest in the Walker Road road-rage attempted homicide; the quick suspect identification and arrest in the Cordes Lakes stabbing/attempted homicide; a reported self-defense shooting that was found to be an attempted homicide involving multiple gunshot and stab wounds in the desert off of Beaverhead Flats Road; and another reported self-defense shooting that was found to be a shooting homicide in Prescott. Additionally, in 2021 a conviction was handed down on a cold case homicide from 1988; DNA from a cigarette butt seized at the scene of a homicide in 1980, near the Village of Oak Creek, led to the identification of the suspect in the killing; and another cold case from 2007, wherein the victim was killed and buried in a mineshaft and only discovered after 10 years of tenacious investigation by the lead detective and the CIB team. All this while still providing forensic assistance to other agencies mainly in the Verde, and routinely assisting patrol with calls with elevated complexity.
In 2021 Detention Services Division (DSD) saw an increase of 840 bookings over 2020. Detention Services saw an even larger increase in inmate days served with a three year high of 189,555 days. The average daily population for 2021 was the highest since 2017 at 519. Despite these large increases our efforts to work with the courts and outside treatment providers have kept the average length of stay for misdemeanor bookings at a three year low with an average of 3 days. The COVID pandemic continued to be extremely difficult to maneuver through and created a slowdown in the court process that resulted in an increased “average length of stay” for the inmate population. Through careful procedures we have kept the spread of COVID between the inmate population comparatively low. However, we have had over twice as many employees catch COVID when compared to inmate population.
In 2021 we began the new construction to the Prescott Justice Center. This new facility will have courts and outside treatment providers to include inpatient Title 36 providers next door, which will increase our ability to provide meaningful connections to those suffering from behavioral health issues.
The Reach Out Program has been successful in identifying and connecting to services individuals who may be at high risk for possible Substance Use Disorders, Mental Health Concerns and Adverse Childhood Experiences. Release Coordinators were able to sustain interactions with over 95% of the individuals booked. Approximately 2,903 screenings were conducted in 2021. Of those, 1,120 (38.6%) inmates were connected and diverted to services post-release. Additionally, the continued efforts of Reach Out and Yavapai County Adult Probation diverted approximately 422 inmates out of custody and into services. SB1823 passed and will provide funding necessary to supplement the continued operation and expansion of our Reach Out Program.
Grants and Special Funds
Grants and Special Funds are an integral part of the Law Enforcement Services Division. They provide supplemental funding for special projects and enforcement details that may not be possible if we had to rely on tax dollars to support the programs. Such programs include Marijuana Eradication, Narcotics Enforcement, DUI Saturation Patrols, Traffic Safety Saturation Patrols, enhanced training opportunities, safety equipment enhancements, Search and Rescue, K9 support, and management of the Public Safety Answering Point and Text to 911 systems.
During FY 21/22, we will expend over $1.7 million in support of these programs. Grants and special funds were used to purchase tactical equipment, bicycle safety awareness materials, accident reconstruction drones, DUI testing equipment, Speed detection equipment, riot control gear, training, and equipment for the K9Unit, equipment for use by our Search and Rescue Units, software for enhanced community connections, a tactical vehicle, and half the cost of a new logging recorder for Dispatch. All this equipment is necessary, and the Sheriff’s Office was able to obtain it without additional cost to the taxpayers.
Special Funds allow Detention Services to staff the Inmate Programs, Reach Out Program and Food Services with twenty-three staff members. These positions ensure we can provide inmates with programs such as GED, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, church services, inmate worker program, inmate library, inmate commissary, coordinated release services, mental health and substance abuse treatment upon their release, as well as additional kitchen staff. Other special funds provide medical equipment, kitchen equipment, and enhanced safety and computer equipment.
During FY 21/22, we will expend over $1.5 million in support of these programs. Grants and special funds have been used for all training for detention personnel, purchase necessary technology equipment, airplane repairs, enhance recruitment efforts, purchase additional safety supplies, and to fund staff and equipment for the Reach Out Program. All of these were necessary projects and the Sheriff’s Office was able to complete each project without additional cost to the taxpayers.
We anticipate again receiving special fund revenue to support these services. When projecting the amount of special revenues, it must be noted that these revenues are fluid and are affected by legislation, funding formulas, and other unforeseen impacts.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to submit our budget request for the 2022/2023 Fiscal Year. We appreciate your time and consideration on this matter. As always, we look forward to working with you to improve services provided to the citizens of Yavapai County. Please feel free to contact my office to discuss this proposal further.