Security bill for alleged Rifle shooter adding up |

Security bill for alleged Rifle shooter adding up

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colo. – The man accused of shooting a Rifle police officer on Oct. 22 remains in a Grand Junction hospital recovering from injuries sustained in the incident, a process costing the city thousands of dollars.

Phillip Michael Amonette, 53, was in St. Mary’s Hospital on Thursday. He is recovering from injuries sustained after being shot multiple times after police responded to a domestic disturbance call at his residence in Rifle. Police shot Amonette after he allegedly shot another officer while attempting to flee the scene.

Authorities have been tight-lipped about Amonette’s condition, but, according to Rifle Police Chief Daryl Meisner, Amonette could be in the hospital for several months.

Providing security for Amonette for that duration could ultimately cost the city of Rifle thousands of dollars.

“Unfortunately, because he is in our custody, we are responsible for providing security for him the entire time he is in our custody and at that facility,” Meisner told City Council last week.

Citadel Security of Rifle was hired Oct. 23 to provide round-the-clock services for Amonette, at a cost of $600 per day, according to the memo.

Meisner approached City Council on Nov. 3 for approval of funds to cover the costs. City Manager John Hier said that the city has approximately $100,000 in contingency funds for the expense.

“At the end of the cycle, when all is said and done, and this individual is in custody of the sheriff’s office, we’ll get an update as to what the cost is, and what is coming from where,” Hier told council.

Councilman Randy Winkler expressed some concern about approving funds without any estimate of how much that could cost the city.

Meisner wrote in the memo to Hier that he didn’t have a “reasonable estimate” of how long the security service will be required.

“I would hate to venture any type of guess at this point,” Meisner said. “But, if this were to go three months, I would not be surprised.”

If Amonette remained at St. Mary’s for three months, it would cost the city approximately $54,000, according to the costs provided by Meisner. However, he told the council that he was still negotiating with Citadel on a reduced cost for services.

“We don’t have much of a choice here,” said Rifle Mayor Keith Lambert.

The council ultimately approved allocating funds for security until Dec. 8, at which time Meisner will have to update council on the situation and likely ask for extended funding if Amonette remains hospitalized.

“I’ll make it work and hasten the negotiations,” Meisner told council.

Meisner mentioned that the sheriff’s office has offered to help cover a portion of the costs, but that statement has not been confirmed with the sheriff’s office.

Spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis said that she didn’t have any information on the security provided for Amonette.

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