Published on April 18, 2024

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Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes told a county Board of Supervisors budget study session that YCSO has had a lot of success stories in the past year, but some future challenges remain.

The Sheriff briefed the Supervisors at the April session on his agency’s 2024-2025 fiscal year requests, which would include a 3% increase in the budgets for both the patrol and jail divisions. He said the agency, due to a restructuring of its business office, was able to return the budget of one full-time position to the county for another department to use, something County Administrator Maury Thompson expressed gratitude for.

Sheriff Rhodes said one success was the strengthening of the Reach Out Initiative Program, which helps identify inmates with substance abuse, mental illness, or traumatic family background issues and connect them with the proper services or treatment once they get out of jail. This program, which has blossomed under Rhodes’ administration, has led to a drastic reduction in recidivism. At one time, fully half of those released from jail eventually returned after committing another crime. In the past six years, that figure has dwindled to 17%. And YCSO staffing, especially for patrol deputies, has greatly recovered in the past two years, leading to better response times, including in remote areas. But the Sheriff has also pushed for the County to fund housing programs that would help encourage more deputies to live in the smaller outlying areas they serve. 

The Sheriff said the new Criminal Justice Center in Prescott was fully staffed at the end of March, which also helped response times because deputies no longer have to take those arrested in the western part of the county all the way to the jail in Camp Verde. The new facility includes 150 beds, two courtrooms, medical staff, and a Connections Center for the Reach Out program, and saves the county about $2 million a year in inmate transportation costs. That money now goes for jail staffing, which the Sheriff said is a much more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

Sheriff Rhodes also told the Supervisors that special funding will allow YCSO to add a 5-member Special Crimes Unit, which will largely focus on drug enforcement. It will operate under Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking (PANT), which has also added two full-time human trafficking detectives, who have been vital in several sex trafficking arrests in recent weeks.

As for challenges, the Sheriff cited finding more money for YCSO training and technology. “This county spends about $270 per employee, but by comparison Pinal County spends about $4,000 for each staff member”, Rhodes said. He also said the Arizona legislature must address improving the retirement program for detention officers and the county needs to find public safety partners to help fund a planned consolidated  Emergency Operations and Communications Center to help further improve response times to 9-1-1 calls, especially in outlying areas.

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