Oak Creek discusses police | SteamboatToday.com

Oak Creek discusses police

Melinda Dudley

— The Oak Creek Town Board cleaned up some administrative matters from the town’s former police administration Thursday, and laid the groundwork for establishing a citizen focus group to discuss what Oak Creek’s next police department should look like.

After the town experienced recent problems with vehicles not being moved for crews working on Oak Creek’s ongoing sewer line rehabilitation project – which is only weeks from completion – Town Board members raised the issue of who will enforce parking laws during snowplow season.

“I’ve noticed a substantial number of unlicensed vehicles and other road-going apparatuses not only parked on town property, but on town streets,” Trustee David Fisher said. “I’m very concerned about these things impeding the work being done by our public works department to keep the streets clear this winter.”

Fisher noted that the issue is an example of unforeseen circumstances resulting from no longer having a police department in the South Routt County town.

Trustee Dave Ege said it is pretty clear any town employee, including those in the public works department, can red-tag a vehicle under Oak Creek’s municipal code, and have the vehicle towed if it is not moved within 24 hours.

Though some police files and evidence have been turned over to the Routt County Sheriff’s Office or the District Attorney’s Office, the Town Board also discussed the ongoing need for qualified personnel to handle open case files and future records requests on a contract basis.

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Outgoing police Officer Eileen Rossi – who had her last official day on the job Oct. 10 – presented a report on traffic control for Main Street, and recommended the town purchase and install flashing speed signs similar to those on Lincoln Avenue in Steamboat Springs.

The solar-powered signs, which detect and display the speeds of approaching motorists via radar, only cost about $3,500 a piece, Rossi said.

“I would really like the board to consider approving this. For business owners and residents, speeding on Main Street is a big concern, and it has been for years,” Rossi said. “Even though we’re broke, I think it will help considerably.”

This year seems like a logical time to purchase such signs, as the town is obviously not spending all the money it budgeted for police salaries, Fisher said.

In outlining what a future Oak Creek Police Department should look like, the Town Board also decided Thursday to issue a call for letters of interest to sit on a citizen focus group. Trustee Gerry Greenwood was appointed by Mayor J. Elliott to serve as the board’s liaison to the focus group.

“The formation of the task force is to decide the future direction of the police department – not to sit down and decide who’s getting the job,” Trustee Chuck Wisecup said. “Go back over the last 15 years, look at all the personalities, see what was good, what was bad, and try to put something together.”

The Town Board will go over the letters of interest at its next regularly scheduled meeting Nov. 13.

The Town Board also scheduled its next budget workshop for 6 p.m. Nov. 10 at Oak Creek Town Hall.

– To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com