Grant would help fight identity theft in county

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, in cooperation with the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office, is applying for a Colorado Division of Criminal Justice 2009 Justice Assistance Grant for $69,057 to help fight identity theft.

“The Sheriff’s Office cases for identity theft and fraud have increased over 94 percent from 2003 to 2008,” according to the sheriff’s request presented Monday at the Mesa County Commission meeting.

“This actually is one of the initiatives of the Senior Commission (a group recently formed by the county to respond on senior issues to the County Commission),” Commissioner Janet Rowland said. “I am very supportive of it.”

The Identity Theft and Fraud Education Program that the grant would help fund would offer educational-training sessions to the community starting in September.

On Monday, the commission also approved a request supporting Mesa State College’s effort to have its main campus become an enterprise zone contribution project. It will now be up to the Colorado Economic Development Commission to approve the request.

According to Mesa State’s application, the college assists the community with training and education. It also estimates the “potential enterprise contributions to the program during 2008 was $2 million.

The college is estimated to add “more than $106 million directly to the regional economy” and “471 jobs were supported due to the amount of direct spending by employees of the college.”
In other business, commissioners also approved a new contract with Colorado West Regional
Mental Health.

The one-year $350,000 contract with the substance abuse rehabilitation facility is $35,000 higher than in years past, said Dennis Berry, director of Criminal Justice Services.

He said the cost of the contract has increased partly because of a new mobile service.
Teams of trained Colorado West employees help cops determine if a person needs psychological help, is intoxicated or is suffering from some other condition.

Colorado West has had some financial troubles and received a poor grade from a state audit last year. Sheriff Stan Hilkey said the most recent audit showed vast improvements.


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