The following is a news release submitted by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office Friday night.
SHERIFF’S OFFICE EXPERIENCES MULTIPLE CALLS NO UNITS AVAILABLE
Beginning around 10:30 this morning, the Sheriff’s Office received multiple calls for service, many requiring a 2-car response, which quickly exhausted all available resources on duty. At around 10:30 am, deputies were dispatched to an address on Cielo Vista in Widefield on a call of a four (4) year old child who was unconscious and not breathing. Due to suspicious circumstances, detectives also responded and were at the location until approximately 4:00 p.m. Within an hour of this call, the Special Weapons and Tactics Team executed a search warrant on Eudora Drive, also in Widefield, stemming from a narcotics complaint. Minutes later, a frantic 911 call was made concerning a man dead in the backyard of his residence in Cimarron Hills. This call ultimately became an unattended death/suicide by hanging and detectives responded. Seconds later, a report came in regarding a fight at Fontaine and Grinnell where at least one involved party was injured and being tended to by medical personnel who were standing by for deputies. At the time of the fight, there was only one unit in the county available to respond and the unit had to be diverted from scene security at the suspicious death. As this is a priority and high risk call involving multiple people, there should have been two deputies dispatched to handle the call but only one deputy responded. When the deputy arrived on scene, the suspect(s) had already fled the area.
During this three-hour period, the Sheriff’s Office had no available patrol units, supervisors, or detectives to respond to other calls received. There were a total of two (2) patrol supervisors and eight (8) deputies working the vast unincorporated area but only seven (7) units because one of the eight deputies is in training. There are certain types of calls where a supervisor must respond, the suicidal party and the suspicious death of a four (4) year old are examples of a mandatory response by a supervisor. Additionally, the entire investigation division was unavailable due to involvement on the suspicious death, a serious child abuse with the child at the hospital, a sexual assault on a child, and the suicide. This is one example of how quickly the Sheriff’s Office resources can be depleted in the county and these circumstances continue to occur with greater frequency.