Steamboat school resource officer reassigned after police department gets a complaint from a parent
Steamboat Springs — Several teachers and students in the Steamboat Springs School District are expressing strong support for their school resource officer who was recently reassigned by the Steamboat Springs Police Department after a parent of a student filed a complaint against her.
Officer Kristin Bantle, who has served as resource officer in the schools for about a year and a half, was told Monday she would no longer serve as the school resource officer.
Bantle, who joined the local police force in 2011, is still employed by the police department as a patrol officer.
Interim Police Chief Jerry DeLong said the police department late last month received a complaint about Bantle from a parent of a student.
Delong said he could not comment on the nature of the complaint.
Letters of support for Bantle from teachers and staff at the school district were forwarded to the Steamboat Today.
One of the letters suggests the complaint was related to language Bantle used while talking to students at a self-defense class.
DeLong said the complaints against Bantle were substantiated following an internal investigation carried out by a police detective.
“We’ve got to take personnel complaints seriously, because if we’re doing something wrong, we need to correct it,” DeLong said.
The disciplinary action against Bantle was up to DeLong, a Craig Police Department division commander who is filling in as chief while Police Chief Joel Rae and Deputy Police Chief Bob DelValle remain on paid administrative leave pending the results of an investigation into accusations of misconduct against them.
Steamboat Springs City Manager Deb Hinsvark said the process the police department uses to evaluate complaints against its police officers is a “tried-and-true process,” and she supported DeLong’s decision.
Reached Thursday to discuss her reassignment, Bantle said she wanted to consult with her attorney before making any comment that might affect her continued employment with the police department.
Several students and teachers at the high school were quick to call on the police department to reinstate Bantle as the school resource officer.
A “What we love about Kristin Bantle” Facebook page was launched earlier this week, and people began posting messages of support.
The page had nearly 100 likes and several comments from teachers and students as of Thursday afternoon.
Letters of support from teachers and school district staff also continue to circulate.
Steamboat Springs High School campus supervisor Dennis Hensen said removing Bantle from the school resource officer position “would be a great disservice to the community.”
“The best indication of Bantle’s relations with our students comes, I believe, from the number of parents of students who contact her asking her to check or keep an eye on their students, for advice, legal questions or just to share information,” Hensen wrote. “I think I can speak for our entire staff in saying Bantle is a pleasure to work with.”
Schools in Steamboat are currently on summer break.
DeLong said a new school resource officer would be chosen prior to the start of the next school year.
Although the resource officer works closely with school staff, oversight of the position lies with the city’s police department.
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After several Steamboat Springs Transit drivers caught COVID-19 recently, the operation had to adjust its routes around New Year’s celebrations and The MusicFest at Steamboat, two of the city’s busiest weeks of the year.