Kremmling Police Department update

The new and improved Kremmling Police logo, by Triple V Designs.
The new and improved Kremmling Police logo, by Triple V Designs.

Cliffview investigation results in arrest
Chief Lucas’s ongoing investigation of theft at the Cliffview Assisted Living Center in Kremmling resulted in an arrest. The suspected employee was identified as the former Executive Director of Cliffview, Destiny Schumann. Because Schumann would not cooperate with police efforts, a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was arrested on February 26 in Mesa County and will be transported to Grand County. Chief Lucas emphasized she is innocent until proven guilty.

Schumann was hired in July to serve as the Executive Director of Cliffview Assisted Living Center by Senior Housing Options. She resigned from her position in December 2018. Middle Park Health will officially take over management of Cliffview Assisted Living Center on March 1 with Mary Jo Hargadine as its Executive Director.

A Kremmling Police Department (KPD) update was given to the Board by Chief Jamie Lucas at last week’s regular meeting. The update is as follows:

More police activity
Another February police activity included an arrest for trespassing a protection order (and subsequently a charge for resisting arrest was added). The KPD also investigated a driver under the influence of alcohol who crashed his vehicle inot tractors at the Alpine Motor Sports causing nearly $90,000 in damages to property and causing his passenger to have serious bodily injury.

Criminal mischief and domestic violence arrest was made, and a sexual assault complaint was investigated in a different case. The sexual assault charges were unfounded, but the suspect was charged with possession of meth, harassment and had an outstanding warrant for his arrest from Jackson County for failure to appear for trial.

Chief Lucas explained to the Board that KPD officers were now more involved in investigations than in the past. He addressed the Board, “Please allow me to stress to the Board and citizens, we as police officers are doing everything to provide professional law enforcement services to the Town… there may be times people do not see a patrol car in their area, but let me reassure everyone we are out there. When I was appointed, I knew we had a limited staff that was working a lot of over-time so I partnered with the Sheriff and he has graciously and has continued to offer his deputies to assist us in patrolling the Town.

He continued, “In addition to our patrol duties, I am emphasizing and requiring our officers to do more as it relates to investigating the crimes that are reported to the PD, and solve those crimes, and hold those responsible accountable. So it can be better understood our police officers were lacking in all their areas of their training when we were on a deadline for Colorado Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) to have them completed, and in 2018, barely made the deadline to have them remain certified.”

In the future, Chief Lucas explained he would do timely training and expand law enforcement training to better serve and limit liability. Officer Mike Minhas will obtain certification to be an evidence technician. Chief Lucas emphasized when he came, “Our evidence room was a disaster.”

Marijuana dispensary research
Chief Lucas visited the police chief in Oak Creek, Colorado where Mark Wellstone, who asked the board to lift the ban on retail marijuana, currently owns the Blue Heron Dispensary. Overall, the Oak Creek’s police chief indicated he had not seen any problems with the marijuana business in his jurisdiction and has not seen any increase in any problems associated with the business. Chief Lucas cautioned the board that Kremmling’s size and traffic patterns may not be comparable to Oak Creek and Kremmling may see more problems. Chief Lucas commented, “There is really no comparison with their one shop.”

Chief Lucas also presented the Board with ordinances that could be implemented for marijuana businesses.

Proposal for a new police officer
Chief Lucas asked the Board’s permission to hire a new female officer who has a medical background but is not trained in law enforcement. He proposed the Town hire the prospective officer, and pay her a salary while she was at the Police Academy for five months. She would begin in April, pay for the Academy, and agree to work for the Kremmling Police Department for three years. She would be paid at an entry-level salary of $49,000 year. If she was unable to work the three-year term, she would be required to repay the Town for her wages. Trustee Erik Woog countered that he felt the Town should consider paying her tuition rather than wages.

Woog said, “I can see the value of paying a tuition reimbursement… ultimately to pay their schooling for some type of agreement seems more than fair. Paying a salary while at school seems uncustomary to me.”

Trustee Leo Pesch agreed it was, “an option” but asked for more time to consider the proposal.

Chief Lucas felt the benefits of paying her wages would be more beneficial and cost-effective than paying for the Academy. He estimated the cost of the academy to be $3,000-$8,000. He expanded, “Any person seeking to be a peace officer in Colorado that has never been a certified officer in this state or any state, must attend a five-month academy. Five months to ask an individual to go without a paycheck, to pay for their bills and insurance really limits us as a law enforcement agency or any law enforcement agency to recruit potentially loyal employees that could serve our communities for a long time. I would love to be able to recruit already quality and professionally certified officers to the town when vacancies occur, however, for whatever the reasons may be, we at this time are having a difficult time doing so and to hold out and wait for a qualified certified officer for an undetermined amount of time that may never come. Hopefully that is in the making of changing as the department’s new image and focus continues to grow in a positive manner and the quality of professionally trained officers continues to prove themselves to our community members that Kremmling Police Department is working with them to build a better and safer environment for all to live and to do business in the town.”

He explained to the Board there were only three applicants for the two positions in the Kremmling Police Department. In the future, he plans to market Kremmling “as the place to be” to graduating officers from the academy.

“I want to be able to try and attract the best-qualified person that would best the suit the community and the department and hopefully have some longevity with that individual,” said Chief Lucas.

New vehicle service agreements
Chief Lucas continued his update with service agreements and replacing tires. He noted he was able to save the Town $350 on new tires by purchasing through A&E Tire Company and having them mount and balance them. “We are now purchasing them on state bid versus paying full retail,” he told the Board. He also reached out to the Chief of EMS, Ray Jennings to see if the Town could utilize EMS’s maintenance person for oil changes and tire mounting. Chief Lucas believed sharing services with the county for basic vehicle maintenance would offer savings to the Town.

New striping and decals
Vanessa Stiefel of Triple V Designs has designed new decals for the Kremmling police vehicles. The police truck and one of the Impalas will be stripped first.

Triple V Designs also printed the new logo conceptualized by Lorna Babcock. The new logo adorns the wall at the police building as well as the vehicles.