Jul 7, 2012 3:10 PM
PHOENIX (AP) - The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has launched a pilot program designed to reduce the time deputies spend transporting inmates.
The Arizona Republic reports that the test program will use detention officers instead of deputies to transport inmates to jail, a move that could free up as many as 2,000 hours for deputies each month.
The program is aimed at preventing deputies from transporting inmates to far-flung locations in the 9,200-square-mile county to the Fourth Avenue Jail in downtown Phoenix.
But it will likely not alleviate a long-standing criticism police chiefs have leveled against Sheriff Joe Arpaio: his decision to close so-called satellite booking facilities in November 2007.
That decision left police agencies scrambling to devise plans to transport inmates to downtown Phoenix without taking police officers off the streets.