Bent County Commissioners are pleased to be supportive of our Sheriff and Law Enforcement both financially and on a personal level. The commissioners are responding to the concerns expressed about a lack of funding to the Sheriff’s Department. It is and continues to be our goal to fund all of the county departments to the best of our financial ability. Over the past year the commissioners have supported Sheriff Six with the hiring of almost double the staff that had been available in the previous years. Several updates and improvements have been made to the facility and internal workings including a new master control system, installation of new and upgraded security cameras both internally and externally on the jail facility. The Capital outlay costs of those improvements were $204,000.

As Sheriff Six took over the reins in January, the commissioners funded new uniforms, badges, et cetera., allowing Sheriff Six and his staff an updated new look. The purchase of equipment, upgraded Motorola handheld radios, handguns, rifles and a new dryer were also purchased to keep the Jail and Sheriff’s office functioning as smoothly as possible. A posse was reintroduced to the county which has helped in security staffing for special events and activities Bent County and Las Animas may be holding during the year.

Six vehicles were purchased throughout the year to upgrade the aging fleet and minimize the repairs and maintenance costs. Each vehicle was also decaled with the new county logo and identifying information.

Overcrowding of jails is a concern in almost every county in the state. Bent County fortunately is not among those overcrowded. Our jail, continues to house inmates from several surrounding counties and DOC. This helps provide jobs in our county.

As the commissioners look at setting a 2020 budget, we look at what has been spent this past year in each department. A summary of Sheriff’s Six budget including personnel, small equipment and normal expenses follow.

Sheriff (including road deputies): $851,720

Jail: $818,445

Dispatch: $260,255

Capital outlay (above): $204,000

Total cost to Bent County Tax payers: $2,134,420 (44.8% of General Fund)

Bent County’s total General Fund revenue for 2019 was $4,759,418

Ideally every department in the county would be staffed in a manner that allows them more free time to do other important tasks, replace equipment often and have a few extras that would just be helpful in performing their jobs. However, in any small rural county, funding makes it necessary for employees to wear many hats and often pay is lower than those on the front range. Bent County employees have learned to “make do” when necessary but their hearts are bigger than life as they often
give of themselves in ways few ever know. The people of Bent County are welcoming, understanding and work hard for what they do. The Sheriff’s Department is no different as they help those in distress, follow up on calls made throughout their shift and often operate on little or no sleep to get all the responsibilities covered.

The Bent County Commissioners want to commend the men and women who work for Bent County in every department for their continued hard work and dedication to making Bent County a wonderful place to live and raise a family.