05/29/2013 04:04 pm ET

Adams County Jail Turns Away Inmates Due To Offender Cap, Police Chiefs Worry About Public Safety

Police chiefs in five cities within Adams County called a news conference Tuesday, alleging that the cap on the number of municipal offenders who can be housed at the county jail is now becoming a threat to public safety.

In January Adams County Sheriff Douglas N. Darr limited local cities to 30 inmates they can take to jail on any given day, shared among nine municipalities.

“The chiefs believe the current policies and actions of the sheriff are creating public safety issues in the cities of Adams County,” Thornton police spokesman Todd Barnes told KDVR.

According to a report by The Denver Post, police chiefs say they had been quiet about the details of the negotiation over the past two years, but decided to speak up after the sheriff's office began rejecting Aurora inmates because of the cap last week.

"We believe this to be a crisis," Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said during a news conference with police chiefs from Brighton, Westminster, Thornton and Commerce City. "These folks belong in jail."

The cap had been recommended by the sheriff and approved by the previous board of commissioners in 2011 as a response to budget cuts that caused a hiring freeze and closed three housing units.

Back in April, Thornton and Commerce City said offenders were often getting alternative sentences, such as electronic monitoring, lower bonds or even less jail time.

Sheriff Darr is expected to respond to some of the police chiefs' concerns Wednesday afternoon.