This timeline gives historical information regarding the Douglas County Justice Center through time and tracks the progress of the newest expansion project.
Created by DouglasCountySheriffsOffice on Sep 7, 2012
Last updated: 01/30/14 at 10:36 AM
The Justice Center expansion started in August of 2012 which comprises the renovation and expansion of the County’s justice center to address serious concerns about facilities for inmates with mental illness, inmates with medical issues, ADA requirements, overall site security as well as lack of secure parking for staff department assets and Judicial staff.
The parking garage completion marks a milestone for the construction project. On November 8th, 2013 Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) opened the garage for employee and department vehicle parking as well as some courts and judicial staff. The completion of the parking garage now affords additional employee parking, along with secured parking spaces for law enforcement vehicles as well as security needs for. Other department assets will be moved back to the new lot upon completion of the project.
The second phase, renovation and expansion of the detention facility are well under way with a completion date for late 2014. This expansion phase is the reconfiguration and repurposing of existing housing areas to provide for ADA requirements, plumbing issues and other internal space remodel needs and to enhance site security, and ingress and egress issues. Once completed DCSO will have the capability to house and treat special populations, minor medical issues and recovery on site, mental health populations, additional females and segregation of female special populations, more effectively and efficiently.
The project is expected to cost approximately $25 million and is on time and budget, funded by the Justice Center Sales tax which was approved by voters in 1995 and extended in 2007.
The parking structure portion of the project is completed and the first deputies began parking their patrol cars behind security.
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is communicating with residents on a daily basis through its website, DCSheriff.net, and on social media,Twitter and Facebook. In July, it added a special emergency website to give people information during long-term disasters and help them get information fast and accurately. The DCSO is also creating interactive maps for people that show evacuation areas and routes, shelters and danger zones.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office joined the top one-percent of excellent law enforcement agencies when the National Sheriff’s Association awarded Sheriff David A. Weaver the coveted Triple Crown Award.
“For the public, this type of accreditation assures that the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is doing the very best law enforcement to date,” Sheriff Weaver said. “We are following the very best practices at this time.”
To earn the distinguished Triple Crown Award, a sheriff’s office must earn three difficult accreditations: the Commission on the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), the American Correctional Association’s Commission on Accreditation for Corrections (ACA) and the National Commission on Correctional Health care (NCCHC).
Achieving these accreditations individually is a daunting task. Acquiring all three at the same time is an extraordinary feat, according to the National Sheriff’s Association.
The Triple Crown distinction is so rare, only 47 sheriff’s office out of 3,080 in the United States have qualified.
The DCSO also earned the Triple Crown in record time. NCCH Accreditation was awarded in 2010, ACA Accreditation in 2011 and CALEA Accreditation in 2012. While it takes most agencies several years or multiple attempts to achieve all three accreditations, the DCSO achieved what the Triple Crown represents in just two years on its first try.
Construction is underway to redo the parking area and create a garage that's safe and secure for law enforcement vehicles.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office joined a highly-regarded group of the best law enforcement agencies in the world when it was awarded international accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
CALEA officials gave the award to the Sheriff and his staff for professional excellence in policies and practices at a ceremony in Jacksonville, Florida last month. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) is the first law enforcement in the county to receive CALEA accreditation.
“I’m so proud of our office, especially thepeople who work here,” Sheriff David A. Weaver said. “It shows the community that we work for that we are doing the very same things as other top law enforcement agencies and that we’re in line with international standards.”
The Sheriff’s Office technically had three years to work toward its accreditation status. But the team rose to the challenge and pulled it off in two years.
Read all about it by clicking on the link below.
This was the day of the big records move from the off-site storage location at the EvTech building to the new Justice Center records storage room located in the basement at the north end of the building. This project was eight months in the making and involved people from the county facilities department, records, and detentions, as well as a construction contractor. Over 1,000 boxes and tubs of records were moved by 12 hard-working sheriff's office members. Pictured in the front of each photo are lead records clerk Dee Rosetta and Lt. Glenn Peitzmeier, assisted by detention specialists Mattie Diem and Amanda Wagner.
This is a preliminary concept of the new site layout with specific management expansion, parking garage and site security upgrades.
TO SEE SKETCH OF SITE PLANS, click on the link below.
The owners representative Wember starts a Facebook page so that residents can watch the expansion, renovation and site security improvements for the Robert A. Christensen Justice Center.
For more information about Wember please visit our website at http://www.wemberinc.com/
The Design Build Team consists of Architects Klipp and RicciGreene Assoc. and Swinerton Builders with Wember Owner's Representatives.
The Sheriff's Office has asked for funding either to renovate an unused portion of the jail for about $1.5 million or to build a new wing at a cost of about $3 million to house the most uncontrolled mentally ill inmates.
--Denver Post Article
The Sheriff’s Office 2012 adopted budget is $48.7 million (including capital), the largest operating budget in the County. Of this amount, $39.0 million or 80% represents personnel costs for the 452.5 positions currently authorized.
With a financial management philosophy that emphasizes ownership and accountability, Budget and Logistics provides guidance and assistance to each cost center manager in monitoring and evaluating their revenue and expenditure budgets throughout the year. Financial management responsibilities include the direction and coordination of the Sheriff’s Office annual budget process, accounts payable processing, purchasing, accounting, revenue and expenditure forecasting, and contract administration.
The financial structure within the Sheriff’s Office coincides with the organizational structure and enables functional budgeting of both revenues and expenditures.
REVIEW THE BUDGET by clicking on the link below.
In 2012, the Sheriff’s Office working with the District Attorney's office requested Judge White to make a concurrent sentence from a consecutive one so that a seriously ill inmate could be moved to the Department of Corrections due to extreme cost of officer overtime and medical treatment of the inmate who was to serve 6 months in County Jail before his DOC commitment. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office was admonished for the inability to take care of the inmate in this facility.
Attached are records from the Douglas County 2012 Budget that outlines how the sales and use taxes for the Justice Center are spent. Records show .43% of sales tax was dedicated to the center beginning on January 1, 1996 and will end in December 31, 2020.
SEE THE FUND SUMMARY, THE ADOPTED BUDGET AND SALES AND USE TAX INFORMATION by clicking on the link below.
In the spring of 2012, after the DCSO had already identified that it needed to be able to care for patients with various levels of mental illness within its facility and after the Jail Master Plan study results had been released, the DCSO had requested Judge White reduce a current inmate’s sentence in County Jail to concurrent with the sentence given for the Colorado Department of Corrections on prisoner Anthony Cipriano who was costing the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office approximately $1000 a day to house in an infirmary type setting elsewhere and overtime costs to send officers to guard him.
Judge White made the following comment;
“I’m going to make that clear right now. And I’m not going to let this set a precedent. And I mean this for any future parties who come in. This will not be a precedent. Let’s make this clear. And I’m going to implore the Douglas County Sheriff’s security facilities to get this resolved so we don’t have this issue again before this Court, because people should be able to serve their county jail sentence in county jail when the Courts sentence them. So I’m not happy with any of the parameters that we’ve had to do here today.”
--page 21 of reporter's transcript March 16, 2012
-TO READ JUDGE'S SENTENCING, click on the link below.
OMNI and other jail-related capital cost projections, including Pods G & H, Work-Release Facility and parking structure to cost $39,542,00.
REVIEW the power point cost comparison by clicking on the link below
After 4 months of study results of that plan suggested several things:
•Building of a parking garage to take care of current shortfalls and future space and security needs.
•Building of a specific unit to house and treat special populations.
•Reconfiguration and repurposing of existing housing areas to provide for ADA requirements, and other internal space remodel needs.
READ KLIPP STUDY by clicking on the link below.
On January 31, 2011 the Detentions Division obtained the American Correctional Association (ACA) Accreditation. This was a difficult undertaking and one that the Sheriff and staff are very proud of. Our final score on the audit was 100% on mandatory files and 98% for non-mandatory files. The Detentions Division has continued the process of Accreditation by completing the 2011 ACA files and upholding the applicable ACA standards
The voters in Douglas County approve sales tax for a extension of the Justice Center.
A 0.43% sales tax was approved by voters in 1995. Of this amount, 0.23% was due to sunset as of December 31, 2010. In November of 2007, Douglas County voters approved the extension of this portion of the sales tax. Of the .23% extended, .13% will provide continued funding for capital needs associated with the Justice Center through 2020. The remaining portion, .10%, will assist in funding the costs associated with operating the Justice Center including the jail, courtroom security, Community Justice Services, dispatching, and technological services.
The applicable operating portion of the sales tax collected is transferred to the County’s General Fund where the operating costs for functions defined in the original ballot language are housed. The 2012 transfer amount allocated to the Sheriff's Office is expected to be $8.1 million.
REVIEW THE USE OF FUNDS/EXPENDITURES by clicking on the link below.
Request for proposal for Master Plan Study. Bid awarded to KLIPP Architecture to do Master Plan Study for Justice Center Expansion.
The Detentions Division continues to hold the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) Accreditation, which was received in March of 2010. The next NCCHC inspection and audit will occur in the last half of 2012. This Certificate of Accreditation states that the Office has met all the requirements of accreditation under NCCHC’s Standards for Health Services.
The Office has several employees who have obtained their Certified Jail Manager (CJM) and/or their Certified Jail Officer (CJO) designations.
During the years of 2008-2012, jail population stayed steady with periodic rises and falls, with a recent increase in female incarcerations in Douglas County and inmates with mental health issues, Axis 1 diagnoses, as well as medical issues both in DC and nationwide. Lack of ability to segregate the increasing female population, need for suicide watch and special management unit cells, as well as increased need for medical treatment within the facility.
At East Lot, Front Entry, Barriers installed to segregate employees and the Judges area. Several patchwork construction projects underway to increase public and employee parking around the Justice Center.
The majority of Douglas County voters have said yes to Issue 1A, a continuation of an existing sales tax for the Douglas County Justice Center.
Sheriff David Weaver . "It shows that the citizens truly believe in what we are trying to accomplish in regards to the future of public safety in Douglas County. As the county continues to grow in the next 10 years, so will the level of law enforcement and judicial services. Douglas County is and will continue to be a very safe place to live and visit."
Voters approved a sales tax increase in 1995 that helped fund construction of the Douglas County Justice Center, which opened in 1998 and includes the county's courtrooms, sheriff's office, jail cells and dispatch center.
The sales tax for the Justice Center, which amounts to 23 cents on a $100 purchase, previously was set to expire in 2011. With the passing of Issue 1A, the tax has been extended into 2021 instead in order to continue to fund operations and maintenance costs.
-Courtesy of the Denver Post
--READ BALLOT INITIATIVE 1A in 2007 by clicking on the link below.
In 2007, the OMNI group assessment study was complete, while a large increase in jail population was projected, a study on Sheriff’s Office decentralization focused on saving money in gas, wear and tear on cars, and ultimately officer time, suggesting a full service Substation along the northern corridor was appropriate and ultimately lead to the building of the Highlands Ranch Substation.
READ OMNI STUDY by clicking on link below.
David A. Weaver is a very experienced leader who believes in strong fiscal responsibility, service excellence, integrity, and community partnerships. He was elected as your Douglas County Sheriff in November 2006, but actually began his outstanding service career at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in 1981.
The OMNI Group was hired to study population projections, non-custody staffing, decentralization and Inmate population projections in order to determine what direction the County should take for capitol expenditures in facilities.
With 191-percent population growth in the 1990s, Douglas County grew faster than any other county in the country.
The facility is in the midst of a $23.2 million expansion project that adds two new jail pods, eight courtrooms and office space in an attempt to keep up with the growth in the county.
Also, due to increasing caseloads, the 18th Judicial District added additional judges, creating the need for six new courtrooms.
--Per OurColoradoNews.com June 17, 2004
Engineers: Kirkham Michael Consulting Engineers; Latta Technical Services; William Tao and Associates
General Contractor: Swinerton Builders
Start: August 2003 Finish: July 2005
Scope: Expansion to the north side of the existing Robert A. Christensen Justice Center that includes a 180,000-sq-ft, three-story addition with eight courtrooms, conference rooms, holding cells, judges' chambers and office space. An additional housing pod with a mezzanine level for prisoner population is being added to the southeast side.
In 2001 the OMNI group did a Countywide Strategic Facilities Master Plan. In 2005 when the Average Daily Population in the detentions center was far over projections another study was initiated to determine why past projections did not hold true. In 2006 OMNI was asked to do a Sheriff’s Office Space Assessment which included Jail populations as well as decentralization and non-custody staffing projections.
READ OMNI study by clicking on link
During the years from 1998 to 2006 Douglas County saw the largest population growth rate in County history, an increase in crime statistics and Sheriff’s Office calls for service as well as inmate population.
The center was named in honor of the late Robert A. "Chris" Christensen who was a County Commissioner. (Appleby: Fading Past: The Story of Douglas County, Colorado.: p.16)
The new justice center brought the Sheriff's office, detention facility, courts, district attorney's office, probation department and the coroners office all into one safe, consumer friendly and efficient campus style complex.
Plans got underway to build a new courthouse and jail. Center will include 284 inmate bed capacity. It was built in 21 months and opened in August of 1998. The cost was $45 million, 202,865 square feet, had 192 jail cells and was capable of holding 284 inmates. Initially it was designed to be expandable to 600 beds. Each cell is 7 x 11 feet. The facility also has 8 courtrooms, 900 locking doors, 120 closed circuit cameras. The detention facility kitchen and core infrastructure were designed to handle needed future expansions. Upon it's opening, the center served as a national model of how to build and fund a new justice center and jail facility.
In 1995 due to the poor state of the Douglas County Justice Center, pending lawsuits, and extreme population growth a sales tax initiative was put out to voters in Douglas County and was approved.
Ballot issue, passing by a 2-to-1 ratio, asked voters to extend the existing 0.43 percent sales tax, which was approved in 1995 to build a new justice center.
-Courtesy of the Rocky Mountain News
--READ THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS' INITIAL RESOLUTION to raise taxes for the Justice Center by clicking on the link below.
"Our justice center is literally bursting at the seams, which is a very dangerous situation," said Captain Mike Acree in 1995. The center, designed to house just 22 inmates now has an average daily population of 88 inmates. Some are housed in temporary trailer units on the side yard of the center and another temporary is used as a jury assembly room. --Per the Douglas County Crime Report Fall 1995
-The Sheriff's office was operating out of two buildings that were across the street from each other, the district attorney's office and probation departments were in buildings separate from the courts, the courts could not operate at the level that a growing community needed and the coroner's office was in yet another building.
The committee is made up of local leaders, law enforcement and community members. The advisory committee did signficant research and found that 90% of those who shopped in Douglas County were actually non-county residents. Using this and other valuable data, the advisory committee introduced a ballot initiative in 1995, asking voters to approve a .043% sales tax to fund the construction, maintenance and future expansion of the Douglas County Justice Center complex. With only 96,000 county residents, the ballot initiative passed in 1995.
In 1987, prisoners held in the Douglas County jail filed suit in federal court pertaining to overcrowding. The court case threatened to require the county to build a new jail by increasing property taxes. The county avoided ramifications of the court by adding additional modular units and releasing prisoners early. However, even with that, the facility was dangerously overcrowded. Around 1995, the Federal Court ordered that Mesa County build a new jail. The result was that the county had very little control over the design, standards or cost of the court ordered jail. The overcrowding and various buildings were ineffective and unsafe. One day, partly due to a lack of adequate security, a probation client pulled a gun in his probation officer's office and committed suicide in front of everyone present that day. --Courtesy of the Douglas County Crime Report, "County Taxpayers Face Federal Mandate" article Fall 1995.
The justice center was built in 1979 and was designed to hold 22 inmates. At the time, the jail was much larger than needed, which served as a source of public controversy. The marker in front of the courthouse reads: "A disastrous fire at the Douglas County Courthouse, set by arsonists in 1978, resulted in the loss of the town’s most significant historic building. As the gathering place for official and unofficial events, the courthouse reflects the pride and success of any community. The new county administration building, erected in 1982, was expanded in 1999 to include a stone bell tower and red brick façade. In 1997, the county courts moved to the Robert A. Christensen Justice Center at the junction of U. S. Highway 85 and Interstate 25. Courthouse Square is greatly enhanced by the new building, and while residents still mourn the loss of their old stone courthouse, many believe the new building to be a respectful replacement."
The fire that destroyed the rhyolite Douglas County Courthouse apparently started as a nuisance fire of a set of newspapers in the hallway. The courthouse's wooden interior was engulfed within a few minutes.
(Douglas County History Research Center #93018.006
Appleby, Susan Consola. Fading Past: The Story of Douglas County, Colorado. (Palmer Lake, CO: Filter Press, 2001))
A car from the McKinster era
On a cold and windy January night, an overheated chimney ignited a massive fire that completely destroyed all of the buildings on the California Ranch. No attempt was ever made to rebuild what had been the epicenter of Douglas County for 11 years.
Photo courtesy of the Douglas County History Research Center.