FOX21 SPECIAL REPORT: An inside look at the EPC Criminal Justice Center

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — At any given time there are hundreds of inmates at the Criminal Justice Center in Colorado Springs.

The average stay is 27 days.

Fifty percent of the inmates are facing felony charges, meaning there can be some really bad people staying there.

We’re getting a behind the scenes look at how the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office deals with these dangerous people.

The special response team is essentially a SWAT team within the jail.

They train year around for dangerous situations where they deal with the worst of the worst at the county jail.

We’re getting a look at one of their many training scenarios at the CJC.

When you hear the stomping of boots at the CJC it means the Special Response Team (SRT) is coming to deal with potential danger.

“Most dangerous situation I’ve encountered while being on the team would be a riot situation where we had inmate rioting, setting small fires. Holding other inmates hostage,” said Sgt. Otis Habert.

There are so many unknowns when the team heads into a cell block.

“We may show up and find that the cell is completely flooded, there’s water everywhere and potentially the inmate is covered in fecal matter. There are all sorts of things that can go different, so there really is no routine situation we encounter,” said Deputy Dukes.

Their first line of attack is intimidating the inmates into complying, but if they don’t they’re forced to go into the bays to subdue inmates.

The SRT team does just put on their riot gear to be able to go into a cell and deal with dangerous inmates.

They also do it to prepare for disasters.

“It could be a tornado; it could be flooding that could require an evacuation, either partial or full of the facility. Those types of disasters we certainly want to make sure we’re prepared for and make sure we can address that and deal with the inmates and make sure we maintain the safety of the population accordingly,” said Lt. Hanenberg.

The inmates and their safety always come first and is the sole purpose of the team.

“We’re there to help them get the help that they need that they don’t know that they need, so lot of verbal communication,” said Sgt. Habert.

“But it has a potential for being in a dangerous environment. Either a danger to themselves, they’re a danger to the public,” said Deputy Dukes.

“You do get scared and I think when you lose being a little bit scared that’s when you start becoming complacent and that’s when bad things happen,” said Dukes.

So why do they do it?

“It’s that camaraderie. It’s that brother and sisterhood that just brings you together. Knowing that those people have the same commitment that you do, to protecting others, and that includes the inmate, protecting them. That’s what it’s really all about,” said Dukes.

The special response team doesn’t just work inside the jail.

They also give support to other agencies for riot control and they also work security at high profile events, such as Donald Trump’s visit to UCCS.

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