The Beginning of PSAC
Before there was Douglas County’s Robert A. Christensen Justice Center, the Douglas County jail sat where the downtown Walgreen’s now operates on the corner of Wilcox Street and Plum Creek Parkway in Castle Rock. The original detention and court system was old, and considered inadequate and overcrowded due to the sudden spike in population growth. There was a substantial potential that the U.S. federal court was going to assume control and order the U.S. Marshall’s Office to take control in Douglas County and build a new justice center that would house the 18th Judicial District Courts and offices, the jail, and the DCSO offices. But they would force Douglas County residents to pay for it all – without any local feedback or control.
However, a group of concerned citizens, who wanted to make sure Douglas County residents had the best possible criminal justice system under local control, worked with the Sheriff to develop our own local plan – a plan for Douglas County to design, build, and operate our own justice center. This group of citizens went across the county to build support for this plan. This group morphed into the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC)
In 1995, Douglas County voters were asked to approve what became known as the Justice Center Fund, or the Justice Center Sales and Use Tax. Of the 1 percent county sales tax, nearly half would be dedicated to paying for the construction, operation and maintenance of a new $41 million county justice center.
Thanks to the public support built by PSAC, the sales tax initiative passed with 57% of the Douglas County voters saying “Yes!”.
A new jail was built, along with new courtrooms, the coroner’s office, district attorney facilities, plus communication and dispatch centers — and all with future expansion kept in mind.
The Public Safety Advisory Committee continued its service to the citizens of Douglas County its new role of both overseeing the expenditure of the sales tax, making sure the funds were being spent in accordance with the language of the ballot measure, while also advising the Sheriff’s Office on an unlimited number and range of issues impacting public safety, criminal justice, and the operation of the Justice Center and the DCSO itself.