With three dozen Boulder County inmates being housed nearly 100 miles away at the Park County Jail in Fairplay this month, Sheriff Joe Pelle is looking a little closer to home for help with overcrowding.

At a meeting with the Boulder County commissioners on Tuesday, Pelle said he had begun talks with Broomfield about housing overflow inmates in its recently expanded facility.

Last week, the Boulder City Council voted down an agreement that would have used city money to pay to house municipal inmates who needed to be relocated to other jurisdictions when the Boulder County jail is full.

Pelle told the commissioners his department last week shipped 36 inmates to Park County to deal with the jail's crowding crisis.

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle (Camera file photo)

"The cost of that is going to be about $48,000 a month," Pelle said of the Park County arrangement. "We are hoping to only have to do that for a month or two and, as soon as we can, we will start bringing people back."

He said he has begun talks with Broomfield in hopes of working out an inmate housing alternative.

"We are currently in discussion with Broomfield County about renting space on a permanent basis to help with crowding," he said. "And you are going to be looking at similar costs per person or more to rent that kind of space on an ongoing basis. It's going to be expensive, but it's going to be a lot cheaper than building something."

Kevin Standbridge, deputy city and county manager for Broomfield, confirmed Tuesday that local law enforcement officials have had preliminary talks with Pelle's office about accommodating Boulder County inmates.

In the fall of 2010, Broomfield completed an expansion of its jail that added 138 beds to the 80-bed facility. Since then, however, inmate numbers have dropped in Broomfield to the point where the expansion has never been used, Standbridge said.

He said a finalized agreement with Boulder County still has a long way to go, however.

The purpose of Tuesday's meeting was to allow Pelle to go over requests he has to increase the Sheriff's Office budget next year.

Much of the nearly $500,000 in budget increases Pelle is seeking for the Sheriff's Office have to do with the county's ballooning inmate population.

Pelle is also requesting to hire two additional inmate crew bosses at the jail. He said hiring the two new staff members would allow him to reassign two deputies from within the jail to permanently focus on inmate transport efforts, such as taking prisoners to court appearances, doctor and dentist appointments.

"We are bleeding overtime in court transports," Pelle said, adding that 42 percent of the jail's projected overtime budget this year — or $155,000 out of $372,094 in overtime — is going toward paying off-duty deputies for transporting inmates. "The issue is we are staffed and equipped to transport the number of inmates we housed 10 years ago."

Pelle also outlined a request to purchase a washing machine for $18,915 for the facility. He said by housing around 500 inmates in a facility built to accommodate fewer than 300, added stress is put on all jail equipment.

A draft 2015 budget should be ready for the commissioners' review in late October or early November.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328 or rubinoj@dailycamera.com.