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Lone Tree parents raise concerns about proposed location for probation office


LONE TREE, Colo — Lone Tree parents are raising concerns about a proposed location for a new judicial district building near schools and homes. The concern centers around a probation office, which would be located inside the building.

The proposed location is near the Lincoln light rail station. Residents argued that the probation office would mean people convicted of crimes would use the same public transportation stop as their children.

“There are other places that I think you can put this that wouldn’t cause challenges,” said Ann Philpott, a Lone Tree parent.

Philpott has a son with autism and worries about him using the light rail station if the location is approved. The Lincoln stop is also near Tall Tales Ranch, an upcoming community for people with disabilities.

“It’s our job to make sure he is never put in an unsafe situation,” said Philpott. “Right now I can’t make that decision.”

In 2020, Colorado’s legislature decided to add a judicial district. The court system has 22 judicial districts and the 23rd will go into effect next year. The new district will include Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties, which were previously part of the 18th. Since the 18th district’s building was located in Arapahoe County, the 23rd is in need of a new building.

Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties now make up Colorado’s first new judicial district since 1965.

Douglas County Commissioner Lora Thomas said the new district’s residents will need a new county building to receive county services next year.

Lone Tree residents raise concerns about new judicial building location that includes probation office

“Now that this split is going to happen, they can no longer receive the services in Arapahoe,” said Thomas.

The Lincoln station was proposed due to its proximity to public transportation. Additionally, the building needs 27,000 square feet of space, which has to be remodeled by January 1, 2025.

“We’ve had a commercial broker looking for us for months and this is the best property that we found so far,” said Thomas.

However, residents expressed concerns about higher crime rates. Colorado’s Judicial Branch clarified that the new building will not be for parolees, only those on probation.

The judicial branch sent us the following statement:

The Colorado Judicial Branch would like to clarify any misperceptions about the recent request to Douglas County’s commission to pursue statutorily required office space at One Lincoln Center for the 23rd Judicial District.

 The requested office space will be used for probation services for low-to-moderate-risk individuals, meaning they are at a low to medium risk of recidivism. It’s important to note that Colorado’s probation department is under the authority of the Colorado Judicial Branch, while parole is with the Colorado Department of Corrections, under the Colorado Executive Branch, an entirely separate arm of state government.

The new 23rd Probation Office will only have check-in appointments with low-to-moderate-risk people under probation supervision in lieu of jail time. No parolees or parole services will be at this location. The location will be established as a satellite office in north Douglas County, primarily due to the county’s lack of public transportation.

For a definition, a parolee is an individual who has been released from prison before completing their full sentence; these persons are managed under the statutory authority of the Colorado Department of Corrections (cdoc.colorado.gov).  People on probation, who will be serviced at this location, are individuals who received an alternative sentence for convictions in which they agree to abide by certain terms and conditions in exchange for not serving jail or prison sentences and are supervised by the Colorado courts system, under the stator authority of the Colorado Judicial Branch (courts.state.co.us).

“Probation is one thing, but the pre-trial and diversion services are for high-risk crimes as well,” said Alex DiMercurio, a Lone Tree parent who opposes the proposed location.

DiMercurio argued that although the new building will not host parolees, there are still other safety concerns for her children. DiMercurio said she wouldn’t hesitate to switch her children to other schools if the location was approved.

“It poses a huge public safety risk,” said DiMercurio

Although Thomas said the Lincoln station location is the only spot so far that meets county requirements, but the decision is not finalized.

Douglas County commissioners will meet with Lone Tree residents Thursday to discuss concerns. The meeting was initiated by the Heritage Hills Homeowners Association, which is located close to the RTD’s Lincoln station.


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