Residents Concerned Over Potential Public Safety Cuts

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Crime continues to be on the rise here in Mesa County, and the potential 2018 Mesa County budget could make matters worse.

"I don't want to see our officers being taken away from our community. It decreases the amount of safety we rely on every day," said Jennifer Smith, Clifton Resident.

As it is, those with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office said they already are not where they need to be.

"We've laid off people. If you look back to 2009-2010, we've laid off deputies and we have not recovered all of those positions," said Sheriff Matt Lewis with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office.

Yet, the Sheriff's Department wouldn't be the only ones lacking critical funds.

"We were told last year when we got a slight increase of staffing that it was a one time fix. We're going to have to roll that back this year, so we are bracing for the worst," said Dan Rubinstein, Mesa County District Attorney.

This leaving many people living on the Western Slope wondering, just how much worse can it get?

"I live on Lombardy Ln and there was a shooting just across the street from my house just a few months ago. That was pretty scary considering I have a child. It's just me and him," said Smith.

"On the weekends you can hear shots all the time. You can hear people firing their guns off," said Roy Owen, Clifton Resident.

However, those with the Sheriff's and District Attorney's office said there is a solution, which would be a yes vote on measure 1A on the November ballot.

"One of the reasons we are pursuing a public safety tax is so that we, as a community, don't have to make those choices. This will assure that the Mesa County Sheriff's Office will be fully funded with the resources it needs without having to access services from other counties," said Lewis.

Although many do not like to pay taxes, residents believe that this time, it's critical.

"If it's worth our safety and our lives, absolutely," said Smith.

The final 2018 Mesa County Budget is set to come out in the beginning of December.

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