Tag: Bob Braudis
Indisputably Pitkin County's most influential and beloved elected official for more than two decades, Braudis' outspokenness — from his positions against the war on drugs to his well-documented friendship with the late author Hunter S. Thompson — made him a giant among what he calls the “free thinkers” of Pitkin County.
For those who have known and appreciated Braudis all these years, there won't be a lot that comes as a surprise. For those who aren't familiar with him, it's a great read and highlights the difference between a law enforcement perspective like Braudis' that's smart on crime from one that is tough on crime (and destined to fail.) Some of the better quotes below: [More...]
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Last week I wrote that Aspen's much beloved, long-time sheriff, Bob Braudis, decided not to run for re-election. He's been Sheriff for 24 years and a great one, who believes, among other things, the best jail is an empty one.
I was troubled that Aspen police officer Rick Magnuson, whose views are light years from Braudis, and who unsuccessfully challenged Braudis (with some dirty tricks) immediately announced he would run for the job in November. (Braudis raised 10 times the amount of money Magnuson raised in 2006, which tells you something about how the locals feel about their sheriff.)
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It is not clear how Sheen spent his Christmas at the Pitkin County Jail, where he was held for several hours, but jailers indicated that prime rib was served for lunch and cornish hen was eaten for dinner. The meals, as they always are, were prepared by Aspen Valley Hospital. Additionally, inmates were given phone cards so they could call their loves ones and an artificial Christmas tree was set up inside the jail, which is famous for its humanitarian customs. Special movie privileges were also granted.
“Other than the fact they don’t have the ability to walk in and out of the doors as they wish, we try to make it as much like home as we can,” a jailer said. “We try to do that every day but naturally the fact they can’t see their loves ones [on Christmas] makes it a really tough time for some of them.”
The enlightened and humanitarian jail policies are largely due, in my view, to Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis. His philosophy: the best jail is an empty one. As Jimmy Ibbotson sings about him here, "An officer of peace, his county rocks."
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With all the fear-mongering that politicians engage in during election years, backed by many in law enforcement, particularly those of the broken windows school who think the key lies in busting and getting petty offenders off the street, it's refreshing to report on a place where a different mindset prevails , resulting in both a low crime rate and a near empty jail.
The place: Aspen, Colorado. The Sheriff: Bob Braudis. Others going along with the program of not making it a policy to lock up low-level offenders: the judges, the prosecutors and the Jail Administrator.
On Thursday there were just three full-time inmates and five people on work release in a facility that can hold as many as 30....Jail administrator Don Bird, however, chalks up the low numbers to what he called an “enlightened system of justice” in the upper valley. From law enforcement on the street, to the district attorney, courts and the jail, there is communication and a common goal of rehabilitation, not just human warehousing and punishment, he said.
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