Town chooses new police chief

Pending background checks, Oak Creek will have new department head

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— Unless he has a dark past, Dale Orlowske will be the next police chief of Oak Creek.

The Oak Creek Town Board voted unanimously Tuesday night at a special meeting to hire Orlowske, pending a thorough background check.

Originally, Sheriff John Warner offered his deputies to do the background check, but on Tuesday night, the board voted to hire private investigator Gary Wall of Steamboat Springs to do the job.

The town of Oak Creek will pay Wall $500 a day plus expenses to travel to Barrow, Alaska, and Central City. Wall will talk to Orlowske's previous employers, his neighbors, local attorneys and the local diner waitress about his time as a police officer in those communities.

Wall himself has previous experience in law enforcement as a police detective in Aspen in the late 1960s and as police chief of Vail in the '70s, he said.

The board also asked Wall to investigate a potential candidate for a police officer, Tim Willert, who served as a police officer in Fountain.

Mayor Cargo Rodeman asked the board to hire Willert immediately so he could start on Monday, but the board was hesitant and voted to wait.

Rodeman was excited about the prospect of hiring Willert because of the several youth programs he had started in past communities.

"The youth in Oak Creek hate cops," Rodeman said. "They are afraid of cops. I'm excited about hiring a guy who is good with youth."

Trustee David Stordal asked why she was in such a hurry.

"You will understand when you see the bill from the sheriff (for law enforcement services)," she said.

Wall offered to start investigating both Orlowske and Willert as early as next week and present his results at the next regularly scheduled board meeting on Dec. 12.

In other business, the Town Board voted not to pay the Grand, Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team this year. Every year since GRAMNET's inception, Oak Creek has paid about $2,000 to the drug enforcement team, but recently, the board questioned what the town received for its donation.

Rodeman made a motion to pay the $2,000.

"I asked Dwight Murphy for several things," Rodeman said. "I asked them to prove that GRAMNET was not a bunch of liars and thugs. I asked for a copy of their budget and everything I asked him for, he gave me."

Stordal voted against funding GRAMNET in 2003.

"I agree with what Tom Bleuer said (at a previous board meeting)," Stordal said. "We should not fund things we don't believe in."

The board voted 3-3 on the matter, which is the same as a "no" vote, Trustee Mike Kien said.

In other business, the town of Oak Creek will have recycling as of Dec. 1. The board approved a contract with Waste Management for trash removal and a first-time satellite recycling drop-off point to be placed behind Town Hall.

The town's government will pay for the first month and every month thereafter will cost residents an extra $1 per month.

If recycling proves not to be a need of the town after the first year, Waste Management will remove the receptacle.

The board also approved the purchase of a new loader for the town's public works department.

Wagner of Hayden accepted the town's old loader as a trade-in for parts at $14,000. If any Oak Creek residents want to purchase the loader for more, they are welcome to it, the board voted.

The old loader was purchased in 1984.

The board approved the final paycheck of treasurer Jo Dee Stordal, who resigned recently, and voted Trustee J. Elliott as a budget officer to oversee the 2003 budget process in her absence.

The board also voted, as it does every year, to close Moffat Avenue to vehicle traffic for use as a sledding hill.

To reach Autumn Phillips call 871-4210

or e-mail aphillips@steamboatpilot.com

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