County Commissioners approve ankle bracelet policy

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Curry County has a new policy for releasing jail inmates on ankle bracelet monitors.

The policy is a direct response to the January escape of 18-year-old Fermin Rodriguez, who cut off his ankle bracelet, fled and remains at large. Then-newly hired jail administrator Lois Bean promised a complete review of previous policies.

The policy approved Tuesday by commissioners details what qualifies an inmate for the program, determines how much an inmate must pay in fees and sets rules for what qualifies as a violation.

County Manager Lance Pyle said the jail committee has been working on the policy revision since January. He said the committee consulted with the county attorney, who approved the new rules along with local judges.

Under the policy, violent offenders or those with escape or sex crime histories and charges of violence against children, can’t participate, Pyle said.

Rodriguez was accused of violent crimes – robbery and battery – at the time he was wearing an ankle bracelet.

Currently there are 10 inmates on the program, according to a detention center report.

Sheriff Matt Murray asked commissioners if the ankle bracelet program had a stipulation for inmates under medical care at hospitals.

Earlier in the meeting, Murray said his deputies have spent a large amount of time watching inmates who are hospitalized.

Last week, Murray said, deputies had to stay with an inmate sent to a Lubbock hospital for an inpatient procedure.

And a couple of days ago, detention administrators, county leadership and the sheriff’s office asked medical staff for a second opinion when they wanted to send a second inmate to Lubbock, Murray said.

A review of the inmate’s condition concluded, “he was perfectly fine to stay here,” he said, saving his staff the travel and time, however the inmate still needed to be monitored.

Many of the inmates hospitalized locally could be candidates for an ankle bracelet, Murray said, which would lessen the drain on his personnel and resources.

Commissioners agreed to add a clause in the policy later that might address the issue.

In other business:

• Detention Center Administrator Lois Bean reported nine new detention officers and six training staff graduated last Friday at Clovis Community College. The graduation marks the detention center’s first two-week training academy.

The next class begins May 18.

Bean also showed commissioners new uniforms being worn by detention officers.

The uniforms include black pants, a gray shirt, patches on sleeves and a metal badge, similar to the uniforms worn by New Mexico State Police. Bean said officers have expressed pride in the law-enforcement style uniforms.

• Assessor Randy Williams told commissioners the tax assessment period