Starting Monday, Oak Creek will have a full police force.
Linda Koile, head of the Oak Creek Police Department, has hired a full-time police officer and a part-time code enforcement officer. The news comes about two weeks after Koile was appointed to lead the department.
Officer Christopher Tritz will begin working Monday. Code enforcer Judy Meyer began work Tuesday.
Tritz will start at a salary of $31,500 a year, or $15 an hour, Town Clerk Nancy Crawford said. Meyer will be paid $12 an hour and is expected to work about 20 hours a week.
When the Oak Creek Town Board promoted Koile to lead the department, trustees also directed her to hire the officer and code enforcer. All positions will be for a six-month trial period.
Koile said she wants the police department's vision to include enforcing codes, cracking down on drugs and community policing.
"We will serve our people and do our best job to fight crime and keep Oak Creek the very safe and wonderful place that we all know and love," Koile said.
Koile has been working or on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week since former chief Guytano Farnan left April 1. Koile, who was a police officer under Farnan, said she is focused on building a good department.
"My emphasis on hours isn't important," Koile said. "Right now, I have a job to do, and I want to dedicate whatever it takes to get us there."
Tritz will receive training from Koile as well as from Richard Wood, formerly a lieutenant with the Routt County Sheriff's Office. Wood has agreed to be a part-time reserve officer who will be on call and help with training. Wood could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Meyer will be trained by Koile.
Tritz recently graduated from a law enforcement academy and is a certified officer. Meyer does not yet have training in code enforcement.
"(Tritz) is a rookie, just like I'm a rookie, just like Judy's a rookie, and who says rookies couldn't pull this town together and give 100 percent?" Koile said.
Koile said she received several applications for the officer position, but she thought Tritz would bring the most to the job.
"I think he's going to be an excellent fit for Oak Creek," Koile said.
Tritz and his wife and three children are living in Stagecoach temporarily but are looking for a permanent home in Oak Creek. They previously lived in Aurora.
Tritz used to come to the area to hunt and said he "just fell in love" with it. He said he and his wife are looking forward to raising their children in Oak Creek.
"I think I'll be a good fit because I'm not looking for a high adrenaline (position)," Tritz said. "I'm looking for a slower pace, something I can enjoy doing."
Meyer has lived in Routt County her entire life and in Oak Creek for 20 years.
"Seeing everything that was going on, (I) figured I could be an asset to the town," Meyer said. "I've got great people skills, I'm an easy person to get along with, but yet I do my job."
Since 1999, the town has had four chiefs, none of whom have stayed more than about a year and a half, as well as several interim chiefs.
That won't happen this time, Koile said.
"I'm going to make sure that this works this time," she said. "I'm very determined."
-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org