Gilbert-Chandler Unified Holding Facility

The Gilbert and Chandler Police Departments are proposing a joint holding facility project to benefit the citizens of both communities. By combining resources, the costs of holding prisoners will be reduced for both communities. Additionally, each community will benefit from improved efficiency and increased availability of police officers.

What is being proposed? The current holding facility that is located at the Gilbert Police Department headquarters will be staffed with civilian detention officers from both agencies. Misdemeanor prisoners, who require appearance in the Gilbert and Chandler Municipal Courts, will be held in the facility for a period not to exceed 24 hours. They will be transported by civilian detention officers to the respective municipal court for their initial appearance hearing. During their initial hearing, the municipal court judge may order the person to be released pending trial, or be remanded into custody pending trial. If the person is remanded into custody, they will be transported to the Maricopa County jail facilities in Phoenix along with any felony prisoners. Gilbert and Chandler will combine resources for prisoner transport, thus reducing fuel costs and time traveling to and from Phoenix.

What is the current practice? Police or detention officers from each agency transport prisoners to Maricopa County jail facilities in Phoenix. Those who are in custody must see a judge within 24 hours. Officers are required to return to the jail in Phoenix to transport the subject for their initial appearance hearing in the respective municipal court. Maricopa County charges an initial booking fee and a housing fee for prisoners transferred to their facility; additional fees are charged if the subject is returned to their facility after their court appearance.

Generally each prisoner’s transportation and subsequent booking into the County Jail averages several hours (per prisoner). Often, police officers are used after normal business hours, when detention officers are not available. This reduces the availability of police officers to respond to calls for service, or to perform proactive and preventive patrol. Gilbert and Chandler officers transport their own prisoners thus duplicating activities.

Why is this proposal good for Gilbert? If Gilbert had a jail facility of its own, an additional 11 employees would be needed for Gilbert to conduct detention holding and transportation operations on a 24 hour basis. By combining resources with Chandler, the facility can be operated on a 24/7 basis with only the addition of two supervisory personnel. Eliminating the need for sworn police officers to transport prisoners to and from the County jail facilities will increase availability of police officers in both communities. Further, fewer transport trips will result in a reduction in fuel use and vehicle maintenance costs for both departments.

How long will prisoners be held in the joint holding facility? Prisoners will be held at the facility for a maximum of 24 hours.

Will there be an increase in the number of prisoners being released in Gilbert? There will be no increase in releases in Gilbert; the Chandler Police Department will return their prisoners back to Chandler prior to releasing them. Currently, subjects held in the Gilbert Police Department holding facility are released at our facility following their initial appearance if the judge orders they be released.

What is the difference between a jail and a holding facility? Jail facilities house prisoners for a period of time while awaiting trial or following sentencing. Holding facilities, such as our facility in Gilbert, are used for temporary holding (less than 24 hours) while awaiting initial appearance in the Gilbert Municipal Court or transport to a jail facility.

Are you building a new facility? The existing holding facility at the Gilbert Police Department will receive some minor modifications to comply with current requirements and to facilitate the joint operation. The current facility will not be expanded but is designed to accommodate future growth.

Do other agencies operate holding facilities? Yes, the cities of Tempe, Mesa, and Scottsdale currently operate holding facilities in the East Valley.

Are the operational expenses shared by both agencies? Yes, each agency will be responsible for their own personnel expenses; operational costs will be shared.

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