Monday, December 23, 2002
Steamboat Springs Dale Orlowske will not be Oak Creek's new police chief after all.
The Oak Creek Town Board held an emergency meeting Saturday to review the results of an intensive background check on Orlowske. At the meeting, the town board decided to rescind the job offer it made Orlowske last month.
Orlowske was hired Nov. 26 pending the background check by Steamboat Springs investigator Gary Wall.
Orlowske's first day on the job was to be Friday. He has been living in remote North Slope, Alaska, north of the Artic Circle. His plane was to leave Alaska Monday, Orlowske said. He had already signed a lease on an apartment in Oak Creek.
"I called him directly after the meeting," said Oak Creek Mayor Cargo Rodeman. "I told him that he just wasn't right for Oak Creek."
Neither Rodeman nor Wall would comment on the results of the background check, saying it is a personnel matter. Rodeman did not explain the reason to Orlowske either, Orlowske said.
"I just found out that I was no longer being offered a position as police chief," he said. "They wouldn't tell me why and I don't have the slightest idea what it could have been."
Orlowske gave his two-week notice at the North Slope police department when he was notified that he received the position last month, he said. Then he proceeded to ship all his belongings to Colorado.
"I was leaving on the 23rd and they called me on the 21st," Orlowske said. "I just had my background check done in North Slope a year and a half ago. I have a great background and no secrets."
Orlowske claimed that none of the references he gave the town board were contacted.
"I'm talking to lawyers right now," Orlowske said.
Orlowske said he was leaving a high-paying police force to work in Oak Creek, "but I'm in the Artic Circle. There are no trees and it's usually 45 degrees below zero. I wanted to go back to my roots in Colorado."
Orlowske's threatened lawsuit comes one week after the town of Oak Creek settled out of court with former police sergeant Dave Miller.
The board will decide how to proceed with the police chief position at its next meeting on Jan. 9.
The town currently has one working police officer, Tim Willert, whose background check has been completed. Willert is Colorado POST certified.
"Pending a psychological evaluation and an agility test, we may look at hiring Willert as our police chief," Rodeman said. "Then Willert would hire an officer."
The town of Oak Creek has been without a full-time police chief since the resignation of Tom Ling last June. And after three other officers quit or were fired, the town spent most of the last six months without any police force at all until Willert was hired.