Steamboat police commander resigns; Pilot & Today requests settlement agreement

Former Steamboat Springs Police Department Cmdr. Annette Dopplick

Cmdr. Annette Dopplick resigned last month from her position with the Steamboat Springs Police Department after having served for five years.

The city issued a news release announcing Dopplick’s departure April 22, three days after Steamboat Pilot & Today filed a Colorado Open Records Act request seeking information regarding a possible settlement agreement between Dopplick and the city.

“It has been my privilege to serve the community of Steamboat Springs,” Dopplick said in the release. “I am profoundly sad at the circumstances that have led to my resignation, and I am hopeful that the city will act on their stated objective of inclusion, diversity and equity.”

Pilot & Today has asked for further comment from Dopplick via her attorney but has not received a response.

Prior to the city announcing Dopplick’s departure, Steamboat Springs City Council members met in two closed sessions citing negotiations with an employee as the reason for meeting behind closed doors, with City Attorney Dan Foote, first March 29, then April 13. Pilot & Today asked Foote and Dopplick’s attorney to confirm the city was discussing Dopplick’s departure from the department, but neither responded to questions.

In response to Pilot & Today’s records request, the city clerk said the record that was requested — a settlement between Dopplick’s attorney and the city — did not exist. Pilot & Today filed the same records request again Tuesday. Then, in an email to Pilot & Today late Tuesday, Foote said he expected to release a final document May 10.

In the news release, Dopplick said she is hopeful the city will act on its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

When Steamboat Springs Police Chief Cory Christensen was hired in November 2015, he was tasked with changing the culture of the agency that had been the focus of an outside investigation, which found evidence the city’s former top cops presided over a hostile work environment. In particular, the investigation revealed instances of hazing, bullying and gender-based harassment that likely occurred for more than a decade, according to findings.

While Christensen said he could not comment specifically on Dopplick resigning from her position, he did say he believed the department is always striving to improve its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

“I feel we, as a team, have been working hard on DEI,” he said in an interview. “I feel there is more work to be done, and we continue to move forward to best represent our community.

“Not sure there is a finish line to improvement. I believe in continuous improvement,” Christensen added.

With more than 15 years of law enforcement experience, Dopplick was hired by the city after a nationwide search in 2016. She was responsible for 29 employees within the department. She also served as chairperson for the NW Regional POST Grant Board and shared leadership of the regional SWAT Team.

Under Dopplick’s leadership, the department increased its female representation on patrol, from her being the sole woman to females encompassing 25% of patrol, more than twice the industry average of 11%.

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