by Pam Zubeck
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa has appointed Paula Presley, long-time sheriff's officer and chief of the law enforcement bureau, as undersheriff. She'll assume the position when Undersheriff Larry Kastner retires next month.
Presley was recently rotated to the law enforcement bureau after spending many years as chief of detentions overseeing the Criminal Justice Center. Presley's tenure there saw numerous advances in security and inmate assistance.
— Changes in inmate use of telephones to record conversations and require identification before placing calls, which led to better monitoring and prosecution of inmates who intimidate witnesses.
— Running programs designed to reduce recidivism in which inmates learn life skills and sign contracts to not re-offend.
— Establishing visitation by phone and video screen outside the jail to save jailer time shuttling prisoners to and from visitation rooms.
— Building a detox facility, and then building another one, using the first one as an adjunct to the Criminal Justice Center. Detox serves 475 to 525 people per month.
— Gaining licensure of detox as a transitional residential detox facility, meaning more money for the jail; the jail got licensed for substance-abuse treatment in the jail, the only county jail in the state with such licensure.
— Installing a SecurPASS machine to electronically frisk people booked into jail, preventing contraband from being hidden in body orifices.
Of course, the jail has been in hot water a few times in the last few years over inmate deaths and injuries, incidents that have spawned lawsuits.
Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Michael Schaller says Presley will be paid $114,756 as undersheriff, a bump from her bureau chief salary of $108,252. During the recent shuffle, Joe Breister, the former law enforcement bureau chief, took over as detentions bureau chief.
"Interviews will be conducted per our policy for any other promotions," Schaller writes in an e-mail.