Ada County Sheriff’s Office 2019 budget request asks for staffing increase at the jail

Ada County is growing at an incredible rate. Since the last US Census in 2010, Ada County has gained 78,500 new residents – from 392,000 to 471,000. Forbes.com has christened Boise as the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the U.S. All that growth represents a significant and growing strain on Ada County’s infrastructure.

For the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, those demographic changes mean more citizen calls for service, more demands for our deputies’ time, more inmates in the Ada County Jail — and more work by support staff to keep everything running safely and efficiently.

Frankly put, we need more employees to make sure we can continue to deliver the services necessary to keep Ada County a safe place to live, work and play.

To do that to the best of our ability, we are asking the Ada County Board of Commissions for an additional $4.7 million to our budget so we can add 39 new employees in 2019. If that seems like a lot to ask for, well, it is – but it’s also way overdue.

We have been very conservative on adding new personnel over the last decade and it has caught up to us. That strain is most keenly felt in the Ada County Jail.

We have room for 1116 inmates in our main jail facility. To operate with safety and efficiency, we need to be at 85% capacity or less. That equals 949 inmates – a number that stretches our resources to their limits.

We haven’t been under 949 since May 2017. We routinely have days where the count is over 1,100. On May 31 of this year, we hit a record high of 1,127.

While our long term needs require a significant infrastructure investment in more beds, our immediate need is to catch up with our staff.  There are times where we have an inmate-to-deputy ratio in our dorm housing units of 1-to-100. Our ratios are not much better in our medium and maximum-security units.

That’s why we are asking to add eight deputies and two sergeants to our jail staff. We also need two non-commissioned jail security employees to add to our staff that work our security systems, two more clerks to deal with inmate records, and another food service security deputy so the food service staff can focus on food prep and inmate management — all to keep up with our burgeoning jail population.

One of the biggest challenges we face at the jail is the growing number of inmates who have specific medical needs or need to take medication. Our Health Services Unit is doing more exams, first aid, and patient diagnosis than ever.

We need to be able to do medical screenings on inmates as they are booked into the jail, instead of playing catch-up.

To do that, we need to add eight nurses — and a nurse supervisor — to our booking unit to do medical screenings on every inmate going into the jail. This will also get our jail current with the National Committee on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) standards.

Having a nurse do medical screenings eliminates the risk for deputies attempting to make medical analysis and decisions for inmates and helps protect us from potential liability down the line.

We also need to add two more jail deputies in our Health Services Unit to keep up with the growing population of that area, which can hold up to 84 inmates.

The strain of growing population has not just affected our jail staff. Our patrol deputies in north Ada County have to cover 226 square miles — and 1,300 miles of roads — in an area that has added homes over a large area.

Currently, we have one sergeant and five deputies that cover all that area. We want to add one more deputy to both north patrol teams to provide better and faster coverage, as that area continues to expand.

We need to add some other employees and resources to key areas in the ACSO, including:

* An additional Victim Witness Coordinator to keep up with the increase in – and complexity of — calls for service.

* A new Forensic Quality Manager for our crime lab so we don’t have to rely on the backlogged Idaho State Police crime lab to process evidence.

* Four new deputies to add to our court transports team, which is on track to move a record-high 20,000+ inmates this year between jail, courts, medical, and legal appointments all over the county.

* Two new technology systems application employees to help manage and support all 84 of our computer/software systems.

* Three new deputies to bolster our training staff, as we prepare to run our own, POST-approved patrol and jail deputy academies for new hires.

* An additional appropriation of $1.2 million to cover overtime for all ACSO deputies.

The Ada County Sheriff’s Office currently has 674 employees and an initial $67.1 million budget appropriation for 2019. Our new proposal, which also includes some infrastructure funds, sets our budget request at $72.7 million and would increase our total staff to just over 700 employees.

The Idaho Constitution requires the office of the sheriff to preserve the peace, arrest all who attempt or commit a public offense, prevent and suppress breaches of peace, take charge of and keep the county jail, and regulate traffic on all highways and roads.

We are always striving to do that to the best of our ability. We are also totally committed to fiscal responsibility and getting the absolute most out of every tax dollar. We wouldn’t be asking for such an increase in staffing unless it was totally necessary to help ensure the rapidly growing Ada County remains a safe place to live, work, and play.

Sheriff Steve Bartlett went over our budget request with the Ada County Board of Commissioners last week.

Go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx3UsIOW2hU and advance the video to the 2:13 mark if you would like to see that presentation.

The Ada County Board of Commissioners will make their final budget decisions following deliberations, which are happening all week long. You can watch those live at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbIOFbUfFOo

Star Police arrest 18-year-old Nampa man after finding almost a half-pound of marijuana  in his backpack.

Elias Bernal-Gutierrez is charged with a felony count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Officers began their investigation just before 8:30 p.m. Sunday after getting a call that several people were smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol near the Star River Walk Park.

When an officer arrived and walked up to a grey Honda passenger car parked nearby and looked inside, he saw a marijuana pipe, a glass bong, plastic baggies, and a leafy green substance in plain view. The officer could smell marijuana even though the windows were closed.

A moment later Bernal-Gutierrez and three other people walked towards the cars from the River Walk.

When the Star officer asked if any of the four owned the grey Honda, 18-year-old Wyatte Ash said it was his. Bernal-Gutierrez said he was a passenger in the car. The other two people said they drove to the park in a different car.

The officer talked with the pair briefly and then did a search of the car, where he found a small plastic bag with marijuana, several pipes with burnt residue, digital scales, baggies, various other items of drug paraphernalia, and a black backpack sealed with a small padlock.

Officers found the key to open up the backpack, which had several plastic bags totaling 207 grams of marijuana inside, a Ruger 9mm handgun, a magazine filled with 11 bullets, and $480 in cash.

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Officers determined that backpack belonged to Bernal-Gutierrez.

Officers then arrested Bernal-Gutierrez and took him to the Ada County Jail.

Officers also arrested Ash and charged him with misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Off-duty deputy arrested on DUI charge

An Ada County Sheriff’s deputy was immediately placed on administrative leave after being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and crashing into another car late Saturday night. 

Meridian Police arrested John Rynhart, 43, after responding to a crash at the intersection of Meridian Road and Chinden Boulevard . Rynhart was off duty and driving a personally-owned Honda Ridgeline when investigators say he turned south from Chinden onto Meridian Road and hit a Honda Civic stopped at the traffic light.  

 Rynhart failed field sobriety tests and failed to provide adequate breath samples, so a blood draw was performed to determine if he was under the influence of any substances and, if so, his level of impairment at the time of the crash. 

 A 16-year-old girl was driving the Civic with two juvenile passengers. No one involved in the crash reported any injuries. 

Rynhart was booked into the Ada County Jail on a charge of driving under the influence. He posted a $500 bond and was released. He is scheduled to appear in court on the misdemeanor charge on June 4. 

Ryhnart was hired by the Ada County Sheriff’s Office in October 2006. He has been a patrol deputy since that time. He will remain on administrative leave until the results of the toxicology report are available. 

Horseshoe Bend man arrested in connection with car and porch burglaries in Hidden Springs

Detectives have connected 39-year-old Christopher M. Hyler to at least one smash-and-grab car burglary in the Hidden Springs area earlier this spring and identified him as a person of interest in several others.

Hyler is charged with felony burglary and misdemeanor petit theft in connection two incidents the night of May 7, where someone stole several boxes from in front of a home on North Barn Owl Way — and broke a car window and stole a purse and other items from inside a locked car parked on North 9th Avenue.

Detectives developed evidence linking Hyler to both crimes, including video surveillance footage and finding items taken from the car burglary on May 7 in his vehicle earlier this week. Detectives also found several burglary tools in Hyler’s car.

The car burglary Hyler is charged for is very similar to over a dozen other smash-and-grab car burglaries reported in Hidden Springs, Avimor, and the North Boise Foothills neighborhoods since April 8.

In all those cases, burglars smashed open car and truck windows to steal purses, backpacks, computers, athletic shoes, binoculars, cash, and other valuable items left inside locked cars and trucks — but visible from the outside.

In one of the burglaries, thieves broke into a car and stole a wallet, and then used the garage door opener to get inside and steal a bike.

All the burglaries happened overnight. Cars and trucks were parked in driveways.

Cases like these are why we urge people to take all their valuable items out of their cars and into their homes.

It sure doesn’t seem fair that your own driveway might not be the safest place for your stuff. That being said, it’s just a good idea to take your valuables – especially purses, wallets, backpacks, and guns — out of the car and into your locked house. Why risk it?

Detectives are continuing to investigate those cases. Additional charges filed against Hyler are possible.

Anyone with information about the break-ins should call Ada County dispatch at (208) 377-6790 or send an email to cau@adaweb.net

Kuna man charged with lewd conduct for having sex with a 14-year-old girl in 2016

Deputies arrested 30-year-old Michael A. Decker Thursday morning and charged him with six felony counts of lewd conduct with a minor and one felony count sexual exploitation of a child.

Deputies began their investigation in late October after being contacted by a third party, who told them Decker had illegal sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl at his Kuna apartment numerous times in May and June of 2016

Detectives eventually found evidence the girl had run away from home during that time and met Decker after she posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a roommate.

Detectives kept working on the case until they were able to arrest Decker at his residence in the N. Bridge Avenue/W. Main Street neighborhood Thursday morning.

Detectives also found explicit images on Decker’s phone, which led to the exploitation charge.

Decker is set to make his initial court appearance Friday afternoon. The crime of lewd conduct is punishable by up to life in prison.

Detectives are concerned there may be other young female victims and would like anyone who has information about the case to call Det. Zach Hessing at (208) 577- 3790 or send an email to cau@adaweb.net 

The photo on the right is from 2013. The photo on the left is Decker’s current booking photo.

Deputies are investigating fatal traffic crash on Maple Grove Road

An 82-year-old man died after witnesses say he drove his car into oncoming traffic and hit a pickup truck going the other way on South Maple Grove Road Monday morning.

The adult female driver of the truck was also injured in the crash. Paramedics took her to a Boise-area hospital for treatment. Both drivers were the only people in their vehicles.

The crash occurred shortly after 10 a.m. Witnesses told deputies Joe Lorah was driving a car southbound on Maple Grove Road just south of Victory Road when his car drifted over into the northbound lane, where it collided head-on with a Dodge pickup truck.

The force of the impact was significant. Both vehicles were badly damaged.

Deputies are working to determine if there was a medical issue that led Lorah losing control of his car.

Officials with the Ada County Coroner’s Office determined Lorah’s cause of death was blunt force injuries to the chest in connection with the crash.

 

Deputies find body of 31-year-old canoeist who fell into the Snake River last month

Deputies with the Canyon and Owyhee county sheriff’s offices located the body of a 31-year-old Boise man who fell out of his canoe on the Snake River last month.

A member of the public called in a report of a body floating on the Snake River just past Celebration Park to Canyon County 911 dispatchers Monday morning.

A Canyon County Sheriff’s deputy then spotted it near the Walters Ferry Bridge. Owyhee County Sheriff’s deputies were able to use their boat to recover the body a short time later.

Canyon County Coroner’s officials identified the man as Douglas Wick Tuesday morning.

Wick was the man who fell out of his canoe on April 21 on the Snake River and disappeared.

A 31-year-old woman who was in the canoe when it tipped over was able to swim to shore.

Investigators determined the couple put their canoe in the Snake River near the Swan Falls Dam and were about 1.5 miles from Celebration Park when they hit some water turbulence and the canoe tipped over.

Neither Wick or the woman were wearing life jackets at the time, but they had them in the canoe. The woman was able to grab one of them and use it to keep her above water as she swam to shore.

Witnesses say Wick held on to the canoe for a while before attempting to swim to shore.

The surface temperature of the swift-moving water at the time was 53 degrees and was dozens of feet deep where the canoe tipped over.

Witnesses called 911. Paramedics arrived and treated the woman at the scene for hypothermia.

A group of Ada, Canyon, and Owhyee county sheriff’s deputies began searching the area using sonar detection equipment in boats, while pilots of an air ambulance helicopter did an aerial search of the river and riverbanks.

The search went on for several days but was eventually suspended when officials found no trace of Wick.

The place where deputies recovered Wick Monday  — just past the Walters Ferry boat landing and Idaho 45 — is about 8.5 miles from where the canoe tipped over on April 21.

We would like to pass on a special “thank you” to the Canyon and Owyhee county deputies who continually searched the river for the last several weeks.

Phone scam calls continue to plague Ada County residents

Ada County Sheriff’s Office deputies will never call and threaten to arrest you because you missed jury duty — or have a federal arrest warrant — or have an outstanding civil judgment — or owe the IRS money —or anything like that.

Deputies will also never ask you to place funds for payment on a pre-paid credit card to “cancel the arrest warrant” for missing that phony jury duty, or having a phony federal arrest warrant, or some other made-up charge.

Scammers will do that. In fact, they are doing it to Ada County citizens right now. They use phone numbers with a 208 area code and use the names of current ACSO employees to sell the ruse.

Anyone who calls you and says they are from the ACSO and asks for your money to prevent an arrest is not from the ACSO. They are scammers.

In the latest version, the callers pretend to be a sergeant from the ACSO and tell people they have outstanding arrest warrants. If you don’t answer, they leave a message with a callback number with a 208 area code, which has a bogus message from a fictional ACSO deputy threatening to arrest you.

This is a variation of the same scam that has plagued Boise residents numerous times over the past five years. It used to be the scammers threatened to arrest people for missing jury duty. Now it’s all about the fake warrants.

Several dozen Ada County residents reported getting the phone calls this month. The mythical amount people “owe” has been anywhere from $100 to $5,000.

The scammers usually tell their victims to go to a store, get a pre-paid credit card (like a Green Dot), load it up with money, and then call a phone number with the card information.

The scammers get your phone numbers and make the calls over the internet with burner cell phones, making them very hard to trace.

The Better Business Bureau is aware of the scam and says people can protect themselves from becoming victims of identify theft by never giving out any personal information when getting an unsolicited phone call.

Giving out sensitive information over the phone — both personal and financial — can put you at risk for fraud.

If you did miss jury duty in Ada County, you would get a letter in the mail. If you had a civil judgment or arrest warrant, you would be served or arrested in person, not over the phone.

No one from the Ada County Sheriff’s Office will ever ask for a credit card number to pay any kind of fine over the phone.

If you have received one of these scam phone calls, contact the Ada County Sheriff’s Office at (208) 377-6790 or the Better Business Bureau online at BBB.org.

 

Deputies investigating fatal mountain bike crash near Avimor

A 38-year-old Boise man suffered fatal injuries after his mountain bike went off a trail and down a steep gulch in the Foothills near Avimor Saturday morning.

Deputies began their investigation shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday after dispatchers got a 911 call reporting that 38-year-old Jason Delgadillo had crashed his mountain bike on the Spring Valley Creek trail, was not breathing, and that people were doing CPR.

Ada County paramedics and an air ambulance were also sent to the crash site.

The first deputy who arrived found three people doing CPR on Delgadillo near a creek at the bottom of the gulch. They then moved the man up to the trail and continued CPR until paramedics arrived moments later and took over.

Witnesses later told investigators Delgadillo was riding on the trail with another man when they got separated. The other rider could not locate Delgadillo and asked some hikers if they had seen another cyclist. They did not, so the rider began backtracking and found an area where tire marks went off the trail.

That’s when the cyclist saw Delgadillo and his mountain bike lying in the bottom of a gulch, about 10-to-15 feet from the trail, in a creek. There was dense vegetation on the sides of the gulch. Delgadillo was not breathing.

The other cyclist began CPR. He then decided he needed help and found some nearby hikers, who called 911. Then they all began providing CPR until paramedics arrived.

The air ambulance helicopter arrived at the scene a short time later but did not take the man back to a hospital as emergency crews determined Delgadillo could not be revived.

People who know Delgadillo told deputies he was an experienced mountain bike rider.  Witnesses say he was wearing a helmet.

Ada County Coroner’s officials said Monday they are still establishing the cause and manner of Delgadillo’s death.

 

 

Crews continue search for 31-year-old Boise man who fell out of canoe on the Snake River

Deputies with the Canyon and Owyhee county sheriff’s offices will continue to search Monday for a 31-year-old Boise man who fell out of his canoe on the Snake River near Celebration Park over the weekend.

A 31-year-old woman who was in the canoe when it tipped over was able to swim to shore.

Ada County Sheriff’s deputies began their search after getting a 911 call at 3:39 p.m. Saturday.

Investigators later determined the couple had put their canoe in the Snake River near the Swan Falls Dam and were about 1.5 miles from Celebration Park when they hit some water turbulence and the canoe tipped over.

Neither the man or woman were wearing their life jackets at the time, but they had them in the canoe. The woman was able to grab one of them and use it to keep her above water as she swam to shore.

Witnesses say the man held on to the canoe for a while before attempting to swim to shore.

The surface temperature of the swift-moving water at the time was 53 degrees and appears to be dozens of feet deep where the canoe tipped over.

Witnesses called 911. Paramedics arrived and treated the woman at the scene for hypothermia.

A group of Ada, Canyon, and Owhyee county sheriff’s deputies began searching the area using sonar detection equipment in boats, while pilots of an air ambulance helicopter did an aerial search of the river and riverbanks.

They suspended the search when the sun went down Saturday night and resumed again Sunday morning, but were not able to find the man.

Canyon and Owyhee county sheriff’s deputies routinely patrol the Snake River in that area and will continue to use sonar to try to locate the man.

Volunteers with Ada County’s Trauma Intervention Program (TIPS) are providing support to the woman and family members.