EPSO COVID-19 Information
In March, we put in place emergency operating plans as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread throughout the world. Between March and mid-October, there were three inmates and 11 staff members who had lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Beginning October 26, 2020, we reported eight lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 to our staff across varying assignments. On October 27, we announced two more deputies who work at the Jail and eight inmates had lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19. An aggressive, prioritized COVID testing schedule was implemented for staff and inmates.
On November 1, 2020, at our request, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) deployed a rapid response team comprised of Colorado National Guard (CONG) soldiers to facilitate widespread testing of inmates at the El Paso County Jail, collecting 1028 samples on that day.
Upon an inmates release from custody, in addition to a mask they are provided information from El Paso County Public Health and their information was forwarded to Public Health for follow-up. This is the same information given to any citizen who tests positive. It is up to each inmate to abide by the health recommendations and quarantine or isolate upon their release, just as any other citizen who tests positive and has been given the same instructions.
The Sheriff’s Office, along with our stakeholders, have done everything feasible, without sacrificing public safety to lower our inmate population. Inmates that were released from custody, either posted bond or completed their sentence. The Sheriff's Office cannot lawfully hold a person in custody at the jail who has posted bond or satisfied their sentence merely for testing positive for COVID or any other medical reason. This would be a violation of their constitutional rights.
COVID numbers since the pandemic began
Staff with lab-confirmed cases: 187 ; Inmates with lab-confirmed cases: 1158
In the spirit of transparency, we will provide updates on this web page to the lab-confirmed positive tests for our staff and inmates as test results become available. This current COVID situation is the top priority of Sheriff Elder and the Staff at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. In March, we put in place emergency operating plans for just this circumstance. We have made significant adjustments to how we normally operate the facility to combat this outbreak. We will continue to test and care for every employee and inmate and provide the safest facility possible under these rapidly evolving conditions.
At this point in time, there have been no inmates who have had to be hospitalized. They are all being treated in the facility by our medical provider, WellPath.
The complexity of COVID-19 in a jail setting cannot be understated, especially when the entire medical community at-large is learning and developing treatment protocols during the pandemic in real time. Our medical provider, WellPath, is working diligently around the clock following public health guidance in an attempt to pinpoint potential illnesses before they occur. The practices are thorough, yet non-invasive, and have already proven to be extremely accurate. For better details pertaining to inmate medical care, we will refer you to WellPath. At this point in time, there have been no inmates who have had to be hospitalized. They are all being treated in the facility by our medical provider, WellPath.
Here are some of the things we have done to keep the jail population low:
If law enforcement comes into contact with an individual who has symptoms such as a cough or is very hot to the touch and is NOT a mandatory arrest, it is recommended that law enforcement issue a summons and release those individuals and for the deputy to provide the COVID-19 card with information regarding following up to get checked.
- If law enforcement must arrest someone for a crime that is mandatory jail, they will still be brought to jail, indicating that the individual has symptoms and the jail will render its protocol for assessment and quarantine.
- No courtesy holds from transport companies or other jails were accepted we have begun to slowly transition into accepting them.
- All transports of inmates should be analyzed for necessity and any option to delay should be employed. Inmates will be required to wear surgical masks if they leave the jail facility.
- PR Bonds being done in the field instead of after being booked into the jail and having video advisement (non-violent, non-mandatory arrests).
- Warrants for Failure to Appear and Failure to comply are being given new courts dates instead of being booked into the jail (only those that are non-violent, non-mandatory arrests).
As the global COVID-19 information continues to develop, the Sheriff is working diligently in collaboration with Public Health, other County leadership, the Colorado Department of Public Health.
Since video visitation remains closed, those members of our community who have incarcerated friends or family can visit using the following LINK.
The Governor issued a statewide mask mandate: Link to the order HERE.
These are trying times in many aspects for law enforcement. We cannot afford to take actions that further erode the public trust in us. As such, the official position of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office is to continue to educate the public on the benefits of wearing face coverings in enclosed public places. We will stress that wearing a mask will slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. We will not, however, be expending the resources of the Sheriff's Office on issuing citations to individuals not wearing masks.
In an effort to reduce face to face interactions due to the increasing spread of COVID-19 in El Paso County, we are transitioning non-priority calls differently. Our Communication Center will still receive all requests for calls for service through our normal method, non-emergent calls to 719-390-5555 and emergent calls to 9-1-1. Our Communication Center Call Takers will assess each situation as it comes in. If it is a crime that is actively occurring and is a risk to persons or property, a deputy will be dispatched. If it is an incident that is not active and not posing an immediate threat, a deputy will reach the caller by phone.
Our goal is to minimize public exposure to the virus, while carrying out our mission to protect public safety in El Paso County. We will continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation and provide updates as necessary.
Updated: 1/26/2021 2:36 pm
Changes to Jail Operations this week- 11/05/20
The Jail Front desk has relocated, but remains available 24/7 for assistance by telephone. Citizens are directed to call the Jail information line at 390-2000 if they have inquiries.
No Video Visitation at the Visitation building remains in place. Remote video visitation through Black Creek remains free of charge until June 30, 2020.
The Jail lobby remains under construction. Business that is normally conducted at the lobby transaction building is handled at the pedestrian door of the sally port.
We continue to transfer DOC backlog inmates from EPC Jail to DOC facilities
Quarantine processes for inmates will remain in place and will be reassessed depending on what the community infection rate does as a result of the cessation of the Stay at Home and Safer at Home orders
Jail personnel continue to be directed to stay at home if experiencing any symptoms of illness. Temperature checks, visual and verbal screening continues. All Detention Bureau staff have begun testing for COVID 19 as of 10/30/20. Mass testing of all inmates began on 11/01/2020.
Civilian personnel have been given authorization to return to work if feasible
Heightened levels of sanitization and germicide spraying of all workspaces, detention wards and transport vehicles continues.
Intensive inmate screening, PPE usage, and limited movement throughout the facility remains in place.
Effective 11/01/2020, access to the jail is limited to EPSO employees and Contractors who provide a mandatory and necessary public service.
All volunteer programs remain suspended until further notice
Thank you for expressing your concern about your loved one incarcerated at the El Paso County Jail. We take the health and safety of our inmate population very seriously. Please allow us to take this opportunity to describe in full the steps we have been and are taking to keep everyone at the El Paso County Jail safe.
In March, we put in place emergency operating plans and have been working with El Paso County Public Health following all of their recommendations as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread and continue to follow their recommendations during this current outbreak.
We have made and continue to make significant adjustments to how we normally operate the facility to combat this outbreak. We will also continue to test and care for every employee and inmate and provide the safest facility possible under these evolving conditions.
Throughout the past few months, we have been able to dramatically decrease our jail population and have identified the at-risk inmates and are taking the appropriate measures based on CDC and Public Health recommendations. The Sheriff’s Office, along with our stakeholders have done everything feasible, without sacrificing public safety to lower our inmate population.
We have Standard Operating Procedures regarding disease prevention and response in the El Paso County Jail. We have coordinated with all law enforcement agencies in the area to keep them informed on our inmate admittance screening process. This screening process consists of answering a series of questions, as well as a temperature check prior to admittance. If jail medical staff identifies a person with symptoms or exposure to an infectious disease such as COVID-19, they may request the arresting agency safely transport the individual to the appropriate medical facility or we may quarantine the person within the jail.
The decision of who gets moved to isolation or which areas are deemed quarantined would be a coordinated effort between our medical provider, WellPath, and our Inmate Classification Unit. For clarification purposes, "quarantine" separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. "Isolation" separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick (more restrictive than quarantine). As it pertains to this facility, most inmates who are being observed for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure are in quarantine. We only medically isolate those who are positive, questionable, or presumed positive.
When there is an identified COVID case, Public Health will review the movements of the inmate and make a determination based on the reported information and the protocols that had been followed. They will determine if there is a significant exposure risk to staff and/or inmates. Our medical provider, WellPath, is working diligently around the clock following public health guidance in an attempt to pinpoint potential illnesses before they occur. The practices are thorough, yet non-invasive, and have already proven to be extremely accurate.
Although we have had to change the way inmates are served their meals and what is served, a dietician has reviewed and approved the menu which meets the standard caloric intake, as well as nutritional requirements of the Food and Drug Administration.
We have begun to conduct follow-up testing with those that have been identified as COVID positive. We expect these numbers to start going down within the week.
This current COVID situation remains the top priority of Sheriff Elder and the Staff at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. We are working diligently in collaboration with Public Health, other County leadership, and the Colorado Department of Public Health Environment.
In light of the current public health considerations, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Evidence Facility is not currently releasing any property/evidence. If you have an urgent request, please call an Evidence Technician at 719-390-2481 to determine if an appointment can be set for you to obtain your property. If there is no answer, please leave a message and we will return your call at our earliest convenience. Thank you for your understanding.
All Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) applicants will be required to wear a mask when coming to the Sheriff’s Office. In addition, applicants will receive a non-intrusive temperature scan and will be asked a series of symptomology questions. Due to social distancing requirements, the lobby capacity at the Sheriff’s Office has been reduced to 12 people. It is possible that applicants may have to wait outside if the lobby is at capacity.
As we follow proper sanitation guidelines between scheduled appointments, it may create longer wait times in the lobby. We are sorry for any inconvenience these precautions may cause; however, we want to ensure we are following all protocols to keep everyone safe. Thank you for your understanding.
CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMITS ARE BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm, closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal Holidays. In the event of inclement weather, please call 719-520-7249.
We will process as many applicants as we can each day, allowing for proper sanitation between appointments. This may create longer wait times in the lobby. Due to social distancing requirements, the lobby capacity at the Sheriff’s Office has been reduced to 12 people. It is possible that applicants might have to wait outside if the lobby is at capacity.
For more information on Concealed Handgun Permits please visit : https://www.epcsheriffsoffice.com/sections/office-of-the-sheriff/conceal...
Before going to the Range, please call 719-520-7249 to verify the range is open and available for HR-218 Applicants to qualify
Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and until further notice the Internal Affairs Unit will be placing the following changes into effect:
- Internal Affairs will no longer be scheduling appointments for in person complaints or taking walk-in complaints.
- Internal Affairs complaints may be submitted via the Sheriff’s Office website utilizing the following link: https://www.epcsheriffsoffice.com/sections-office-of-the-sheriff/division-of-professional-responsibility/internal-affairs-unit or by calling 719-520-7345 and leaving a voice mail. Please be sure to leave your name, complaint and phone number or email so we may answer your call/email.
The Office of the Sheriff has resumed operations and regular business hours (8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Due to social distancing requirements, the lobby capacity at the Sheriff’s Office has been reduced to 12 people. It is possible that applicants might have to wait outside if the lobby is at capacity and face masks are required.
Our Communications Center will conduct a COVID 19 screening on all medical and Priority Law enforcement calls. Deputies should be doing the screening by phone on Priority 3 and 4 calls. We will be handling as many non-priority calls by phone as possible as well as offering an updated list of crimes to Cop Logic. If you receive a ticket, please send by mail.
Programs that are cancelled:
- Sheriff’s Citizen Patrol
- Chaplains have been asked to reduce services and not physically respond to scenes. There is a possibility of providing their service by phone.
- Civilian Ride Along Program
- Cadet Academy during Spring Break and all cadet programs
- All patrol off site or out of town training
- In person Patrol Briefings
- Supervisors discretion to send deputies on medical calls
Volunteers will not be allowed in the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office facilities with the exception of Wildland Fire, Search & Rescue, & Reserve Deputies. If you are unsure or unclear about your position as a volunteer, please contact your chain of command.