DEL NORTE- Over the past year the Rio Grande County Sheriff’s department has been working to expand their coverage to 24 hours per day throughout the entire county. Through their efforts the department is now closer to accomplishing this task by hiring two new officers.
According to Rio Grande County Sheriff Don McDonald, the department has recently hired two new investigators, two new officers, and a new victim’s advocate and evidence technician adding to their team of professionals and getting them closer to their 24-hour goal. “We are continuously working on the betterment of the department and having 24-hour coverage of the entire county. Right now, officers are assigned to two different districts within the county and we are working 18-hour coverage shifts. Our goal is to have three districts with 24-hour patrols,” said McDonald.
Since McDonald took over as the Rio Grande Sheriff in January, the department has had a huge increase in activity. According to documentation provided by the department they have handled over 5,000 calls varying in type from agency assists, traffic stops, domestic violence, warrant executions and more. In previous statements made by the sheriff, McDonald has spoken about the need to be involved in the community and to help build community trust.
The Del Norte Prospector previously reported that the department was working to compile data to compare to previous years to use as a working tool to identify and isolate specific crime trends and locations, as well as, show improvement over a period of time. In just the few short months that McDonald and his team have been with the Sheriff’s department, the numbers are showing a steady increase in activity, as well as improvement.
The data being compiled has shown, as of October 2019 that the department has increased law enforcement in the county by over 50 percent and crime in the area is steadily dropping. By the end of the year, department officials will be able to look back and track trends allowing them to focus their efforts in specific locations and times to deter criminal activity in the coming year.
In addition to the hope for expanded coverage, McDonald has worked to improve the department’s vehicle fleet by getting rid of broken and unsafe vehicles and using budgeted funding to purchase new vehicles. As of June, this year, the department was able to purchase four Dodge Chargers and two Dodge Durango’s, one of which is used for county business.
Efforts to expand coverage in the county is being considered as the sheriff works to crunch numbers for the 2020 budget. “Right now, we are focused on getting the budget figured out and get ready for a new fiscal year. We are still working toward our goal and hope to have even more success in the coming months.”