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Colorado parole officers lack knowledge of monitor alerts

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DENVER -- A four month investigation into the Colorado Department of Corrections shows parole officers need better training when it comes to the electronic monitoring system of parolees.

The four month evaluation by the National Institute of Corrections, at the DOC’s request, looked at parole operations and offender management.

The review began after the murders of DOC director Tom Clements and Nate Leon, a father of three and a pizza delivery driver, back in March.

Evan Ebel, the suspected gunman in both men’s murder, had cut off his ankle monitor six days before a parole officer asked for an arrest warrant.
The tamper alert went unmonitored over a weekend, the same time Ebel is suspected of killing Leon, days later he would shoot and kill Clements at his home in Monument.

“You all know this alarm was going off for six days. If they responded within one day, would that have prevented the homicide? It might have, if they could have found him the first day.”

Newly appointed DOC Director Rick Raemisch stopped short on whether or not these new policy guidelines would have prevented the murders but says parole officers need better training.

“There are many different types of alerts on those monitors, there could be a curfew alert; if someone shows up early at their residents, five minutes before they should, it might send off a warning until it hits that actual time and they’re still there the warning stops.”

After media scrutiny into the six day failure to track Ebel, the DOC implemented a two-hour response time to any tamper alert.

“The report addresses the fact that electronic monitoring is just a tool in the tool box. It’s not going to solve all problems,” he said Friday afternoon.

The report also indicates how the DOC should work with local law enforcement to go after parolees who have cut off their monitoring system, something that was rarely used in the past.

The DOC plans to also look at who need the monitoring system, which alerts should get a high priority and how to respond to those alerts.

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