The characteristics and problems of law enforcement in Conejos County, Colo. were studied to determine the feasibility of forming a consolidated law enforcement agency to improve the quality of police service in the area.
Data were gathered by a review of documents, interviews with public and police officials in Conejos County and the adjoining county, Alamosa County, and observations of the law enforcement facilities of Conejos County and the town of Antonito. Conejos County, a large rural county, had a population of about 8,000. Antonito, the largest town, had 1,113 residents, according to 1970 data. Antonito and three other towns provide their own law enforcement services, while the county sheriff's department serves the rest of the county. Members of the sheriff's department and the Antonito police force were not certified by the Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy (CLETA) and had low salaries. The main problems affecting the quality of police service in the county are inadequate records, inadequate telephone and police communications services, inadequate field services, and lack of standards and training for personnel. Possible options for improving the law enforcement system include consolidation of all police services under a new county government structure, consolidation within the current government structure through formal agreement among the jurisdictions, consolidation among three towns (Antonito, La Jara, and Manassa), or contracting for services from the town of Alamosa. Regardless of the option chosen, a uniform records system and improved communications system are needed for the county. The State should develop master plans for criminal justice records, communications, corrections and detention, and rural policing.
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531, United States
National Institute of Justice/
Box 6000, Dept F, Rockville, MD 20849, United States
United States of America