Thursday, October 17, 2002
Oak Creek The town of Oak Creek is one step closer to having a police department.
A panel of three law enforcement professionals Routt County Sheriff John Warner, Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta and J.D. Hayes, director of Public Safety Services in Steamboat reviewed nine applications for the Oak Creek police chief position.
Last week, the panel narrowed the list to four candidates whom they felt were most qualified.
"We based our decision on experience, training and education," Warner said.
The Town Board gave the panel a set of requirements designed to avoid problems the town has faced in the past with officers who were unqualified, unable to pass Colorado certification tests or coming into the position with psychological problems or criminal backgrounds.
On Monday, Warner passed the four names to Mayor Cargo Rodeman. Now, it's up to the Town Board to form an interview board to narrow down the list to one person.
Rodeman said the board will include Town Board members and reserve officer Eileen Rossi.
Because Rossi will be out of town next week, interviews are scheduled for the following week.
The Sheriff's Office has promised to conduct a complete background check of the final candidate. The investigation will be extensive, Warner said.
Neighbors, co-workers and community members from the candidate's past towns of service will be interviewed. A criminal background check and psychological evaluation will be conducted.
If the candidate does not pass the background check, the board must choose someone else who will go through the same process.
No deadline has been set for hiring the new police chief. Once he or she is hired, the chief will be put in charge of hiring officers and reorganizing the Oak Creek police.
Over the summer, the police department has disappeared one officer at a time for various reasons until the town was left with no police force.
Recently, the town hired a code enforcement officer to respond to violations of municipal code. Sheriff's deputies respond to other calls and patrol the area daily.