Sheriff Joe Arpaio is hoping a new program of roaming jail wagons will allow deputies to spend more time patrolling the streets and less time driving inmates to jail, the sheriff's office said.
The sheriff's office is responsible for covering a large area, often far away from jail facilities where deputies on patrol book an average of 1,000 inmates a month, the sheriff said.
Starting Monday, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is launching a pilot program that will use transport vans to take suspects to jail, the sheriff said.
Under the new program, inmates will be transported by armed detention officers in two new secured inmate transport vans that will drive to crime scenes or central locations where suspects can be dropped off, the sheriff said.
The program is aimed at freeing up time for nearly 150 deputies patrolling the west Valley who currently have to drive inmates downtown to book suspects into jail.
The program will also offset the potential rise in transport needs to Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in central Phoenix due to Senate Bill 1070, according to the sheriff.
The sheriff said the program could mean an additional 2,000 hours a month that deputies could spend patrolling instead of driving suspects to jail and waiting while they are booked.
The sheriff said he hopes the new program will also lead to improved response times for deputies.
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