Oak Creek Law enforcement and town officials in Oak Creek are seeking a third party to mitigate alleged complaints about the Oak Creek Police Department.
The Oak Creek Town Board unanimously agreed Thursday night that questions about the conduct of an Oak Creek police officer should be handled by the District Attorney's office.
"It has become basically an internal affairs situation," Mayor Cargo Rodeman said.
Although the agenda called for open discussion on concerns about a particular officer, trustees took the matter to an immediate executive session.
The officer in question called for the executive session and asked that Oak Creek Police Chief Tom Ling be present at the closed meeting.
The board and officers returned about a half-hour later to report their decision to take the matter to an outside source.
Rodeman cited the Town Board's inability to deal with the matter.
"None of us have the expertise," she said.
Trustee Mike Kien said law enforcement and town officials agreed the file collected by Rodeman on the conduct of the officer in question should be given to the District Attorney's office.
"We contemplated the different sources that it could go to and the different courses that it could take," Rodeman said.
Ling said he fully supported an outside investigation.
An internal investigation by the Oak Creek Police Department would no doubt raise questions about the department's objectivity, he said.
"If I did it myself, people would say it would be unfair," he said.
The Oak Creek officer whose conduct is the source of contention agreed with Ling.
"It needs to be done," the officer said.
Ling said he knew nothing about the contents of the file.
If he did know, he added, he would be bound to not release the information.
"Nothing has been disclosed to me," Ling said.
But he stressed the officer in question should be informed as to whom the accusers are and what the accusations entail.
"(The officer) has the right to be notified," Ling said.
Ling, as well as Rodeman and Trustee J. Elliott, will accompany the officer in question to the District Attorney's office Tuesday.
The remaining Town Board members are permitted to attend the meeting.
Ling said he hopes the outside investigation will clear the air of recent speculation surrounding the Oak Creek Police Department.
"There have been a lot of rumors and innuendos made, but it's nothing based on fact," he said.
In the aftermath of the outside investigation, Ling said he would like to see the creation of a review board comprised of Oak Creek residents that would review local law enforcement complaints.
"We need citizen oversight," he said.
Trustee Bill Paxton said the board would consider other third party options, such as the Colorado Federal Bureau of Investigation, if the District Attorney's office decides not to look into the matter.
Many of the residents who packed the board meeting room to hear about complaints lodged against the Oak Creek officer left in disappointment when the Town Board called the special session.