Concealed Carry Permit Increase One of Several Trends Noted in Boulder County Sheriff’s Office 2017 Report

July 16, 2018

Boulder County saw an increase in concealed carry permit holders in 2017, and the office said it has already seen an increase again so far in 2018.

The increase was just one of the trends noted in the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office annual report for 2017 , which was released Thursday.

In the report, the sheriff’s office said there are 8,304 active concealed carry weapons permit holders in the county, up from 7,752 in 2016.

Boulder County Undersheriff Tom Sloan said that in addition to numbers rising simply due to population increases, the department tends to see an increase in concealed carry permit applications following mass shootings, as people fear for their safety or legislation that could take away their guns.

“We go through these spurts,” Sloan said. ”(Shootings) make people concerned, so we’ll see an increase.”

The year 2017 saw several deadly mass shootings , including one in Las Vegas that saw 58 killed and more than 500 wounded as well as another shooting in Texas that left 26 dead.

Sloan said that following several school shootings this year, the county has seen an 18 percent increase in applications over the same time period last year. This year also has seen the city of Boulder implement an assault weapons ban.

“This spring there were those end-of-year school shootings,” Sloan said. “If there is a concern around law changes, then we will see a spike.”

The 13-page annual report also noted that detectives filed 4,875 charges, down from 5,314 in 2016, and also saw a drop in clearance rate from 66 percent to 52 percent. Sloan said a big part of that drop was because of a way the department changed its filing and report procedure on fraud and identity theft cases with international suspects that the sheriff’s office could not pursue.

But Sloan also noted that a triple homicide in Coal Creek Canyon in the summer of 2017 was a drain on resources and caused a backlog in cases. The sheriff’s office was assigned only 968 cases in 2017, down from 1,100 in 2016.

“That (case) consumed the entire detective bureau for about three months,” Sloan said. “Some of the lower level crime cases weren’t assigned. So those closures will probably show up in the 2018 numbers. It was just all hands on deck for three months, and that delayed other cases.”

Budget-wise, the annual report once again highlighted the amount of manpower and money the Boulder County Jail consumes from the sheriff’s office, as costs associated with the jail comprised 41 percent of the department’s budget in 2017.

Sloan said that until the county can get updates to the jail and an alternative-sentencing facility , those costs will continue to rise.

“The costs are what they are until we can do something different, and that’s what we’re hoping to do with the alternative sentencing facility,” Sloan said.

While Sloan said that the sheriff’s office has been working with the District Attorney’s Office and the courts on bond reform and speeding up the pretrial process to decrease the time inmates spend in jail, medical costs for inmates continue to rise and changes to mental health evaluations have slowed down the process.

“That hasn’t helped change the numbers,” Sloan said. “And with the health of our inmates, there’s always something. Medical costs have increased every year for the past five years.”

Mitchell Byars: 303-473-1329, byarsm@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/mitchellbyars