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RBC — The Rio Blanco County Communications Center is a busy place. During 2008, dispatchers logged a record 11,674 incidents, a 7.1 percent increase over the 10,902 incidents logged in 2007.
Not only is the Communications Center busy, but also the agencies they serve.
The sheriff’s office answered 3,252 calls for service last year, a 5.6 percent increase over 2007; however, traffic stops decreased for the sheriff’s office 5.7 percent last year with a total of 4,639 stops.
The Meeker Police Department responded to 2,455 calls for service during 2008, an 18.5 percent increase over 2007 and traffic stops for the Meeker P.D. increased a staggering 158 percent last year with 854 stops.
Incidents in the west side of the county increased 15.1 percent with 2,760 incidents during 2008. The number of incidents in the east end of the county decreased 8.5 percent with 5,526 incidents during 2008, but incidents within the Meeker city limits increased an impressive 40.8 percent with 3,273 incidents last year.
Rio Blanco County has vast wide-open countryside with many county roads that wind through it and the sheriff’s office patrol vehicles logged 343,058 miles on those roads last year.
As a result of continuous increases in traffic volume, a new traffic unit was added at the end of 2008 for the sheriff’s office.
While deputies respond to all calls for service, including traffic incidents, the black and white traffic unit specifically covers traffic complaints, accidents and enforcement.
The deputies collective efforts in traffic enforcement during 2008 resulted in total citation revenues for Rio Blanco County of $117,467.08 with 3,319 citations written.
Rio Blanco County deputies responded to 447 traffic accidents during 2008, with 263 accidents investigated by the sheriff’s office and 184 accidents where deputies assisted the Colorado State Patrol, this number does not include accidents investigated by the troopers without a response from the sheriff’s office.
During 2008, the sheriff’s office helped move 19 oversize “super” loads from Meeker to one of the three new gas plants on County Rd. 5, with a total of 319 man hours logged in those moves.
An oversize “super” load is a load that is more than 16 feet in width, 100 feet in length weighing in at more than 400,000 pounds. The average time to move one of these loads is 4.5 hours. The largest load for 2008 was 998,000 pounds and more than 300 feet long, taking more than 10 hours to move the massive load 36 miles.
The companies moving these “super” loads reimburse Rio Blanco County for use of county vehicles as well as the man hours worked during these moves.
The incidents in the Piceance Creek area, which includes a 500 square mile area and 27 of the busiest county roads, increased again for the sixth year in a row, with 1,708 incidents in 2008, up slightly from 1,675 in 2007.
These volumes may not seem overly impressive, but in 2003 there were only 135 incidents in Piceance Creek for the year or an increase of 1,265 percent between 2003 and 2008.
When the deputies and police officers are seeing increases, rest assured the jail experiences the influx as well.
So it is not surprising that the small detention center operated above its maximum capacity of 18 inmates during 2008.
The average daily inmate population in 2008 was 22.10 inmates, an increase over the 2007 daily average of 17.89, with the high daily inmate population of 29 inmates in the facility.
For the fifth year in a row, the number of prisoners booked into the detention center increased with 974 people booked during 2008, up from 910 in 2007. Feeding inmates economically can be a daunting task these days.
The detention center prepared 16,344 meals during 2008 at a cost of $1.39 per meal.