You Have the Right to Remain Silent

I'm participating in a local citizen's police academy with some friends. It's a 12-week course that provides some insights into the operations of various police agencies. Last night we went to the Weld County Jail in Greeley (about an hour north of here). They have a brand new wing that is going to open very soon, so we got the full tour (nice to see what our $20 million bought us). That's the sheriff in the center of this shot, taken in one of the "pods" of the new wing.

They separate the jail into pods of somewhere around 15-20 rooms, each holding 2-4 inmates. The jail holds something like 700-800 inmates total. The new wing is built from prefab'd steel cells that more or less just plugged in, saving lots on building costs, especially since the units were purchased and stored back when steel prices were lower. The sheriff was more than happy to impress how much money he was saving "us". :-) With the setup in the new wing, the inmates don't have to leave at all. Visitors are received via videophone. Lawyers and other advisers come into a side unit of the pod to meet through glass. As you can imagine, comments were made more than once about it feeling like a zoo where you just come to feed the monkeys. When we walked past occupied pods, I even got that feeling. They were all hooting and hollering at us, waving and smiling.

Can you imagine living in a place like this? The inmates are allowed into the open area unless there's problems or they're in maximum security, but it's still a super-small place to exist. They have a little sally port that's open to outside air, but that's all the nature they get to have. Many of the folks here are repeat offenders who are proud of their achievements. A kid 18-19 was being booked while we were walking through, and he was more than happy to share that it was his fourth arrest in two months. Sheesh. You start to understand why the corrections system is so dang expensive.

After the jail tour, we went next door to the dispatch center that handles all the 911 calls for the county. It's a state of the art facility (of course with Law and Order on in the background), and was interesting to see how things all work. These pictures are kinda blurry, but you get the idea. Now I just need to figure out how to get 6 screens mounted together at my desk!


Jolayne said…
Fortunately they let you come home.
Ryan said…
Admit it - that wasn't a tour. That was a booking. We all suspected you'd end up there some day!
Linda said…
Glad you had fun, just don't get too cozy there.

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