COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - State lawmakers have approved spending $1 million to help the Department of Corrections track down parolees who continue to break the law.
The money will pay for a 10-person fugitive unit whose sole responsibility is finding parolees who've fled the system.
The new unit comes as a response to the death of the former Chief of Corrections Tom Clements. It's believed he was killed at his Monument home by a man who had just been released from prison and was on parole under intense supervision.
Evan Ebel also allegedly killed Nate Clements, a Denver father with in-laws in Pueblo West, before being shot and killed while on the run from authorities in Texas.
Ebel cut off his ankle monitor days before the murders.
The new parole unit will focus exclusively on finding ex-cons like Ebel before they're able to commit new crimes.
"As we've seen in recent days, it's become a high priority to capture those fugitive offenders," said Adrienne Jacobson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections.
According to the Department of Corrections, approximately 3,500 parolees would be targeted by the fugitive unit. They will track missing parolees and work with law enforcement across the state to apprehend them.
Parole officers had previously monitored tamper alerts on ankle monitors and provided resources for parolees. This move allows them to focus on the intake and monitoring of the approximate 10,000 parolees on good behavior.
Jacobson said the fugitive unit is modeled on successful programs in other states. Funding for the program begins with the new fiscal year on July 1.