Council OKs police, fire staff


— Christmas came early for the Steamboat Springs police and fire rescue departments when the City Council approved the hiring of six new firefighters and two new police officers.

The additions came Tuesday when the City Council voted to approve its 2007 budget.

The additions are necessary to keep up with increases in call volume, officials with the departments said.

Police Capt. Joel Rae said the police department plans on asking for two more officers in 2008 to increase the department's staffing by a total of four officers in the next two years.

"We've basically had a 25 percent increase in the calls for service in the past 10 years where we haven't increased our staffing at all during that time," he said. "We need four officers, I think, just to get to a manageable point where we can focus on all aspects of law enforcement instead of just responding to calls and squeezing in everything else when we can."

Assistant Fire Chief Bob Struble echoed Rae's concerns.

"Getting six new full-time officers is excellent news for us because it will allow us to handle our (calls) better and improve our response to the public," he said.

Struble said call volume is around 12.5 percent higher than it was in 2005 and even higher for second and third calls. Second and third calls are the calls for service the fire department receives while responding to a first call.

"Those are staggering numbers," he said. "This is a growing county and nearly every other fire department in the county is showing an increase in calls for service."

Council President Ken Brenner said Wednesday that approving the department's requests for new staff was a no-brainer.

"This was really only the next step to provide these essential police, fire and EMS services to the community," he said. "Tuesday night was simply us getting caught up. We still have the obligation to look to the future."

In the next five years, the city likely will need to build a new fire station west of Steamboat Springs to accommodate the projected growth there, Brenner said.

Council approved $344,000 to help fund the six firefighters, and $170,000 to hire the two new police officers and purchase a new patrol car.

Both Struble and Rae are striving to fill the new positions as soon as possible.

"We hope to have the positions filled by the end of January or the beginning of February," Struble said.

The police department is already down one officer, which Rae hopes to fill along with the two new positions before summer.


JQPUBLIC 10 years, 4 months ago

southrouttmucker sounds like one of the "blind faith followers" of oak creek that can't see the value in a plenitude of emergency services personnel. Just because you are used to an overpaid do nothing cop and a non-paid overworked fire dept., doesn't mean steamboat shouldn't give their citizens better if they can. Riding their bikes does sound like a fitness thing, however, as long as they are there when they are needed who gives a crap how they spend their idle time. Why don't you spend some time trying to get our OCFPD personnel paid (they deserve it) instead of knocking Steamboat for taking care of their own!


JQPUBLIC 10 years, 4 months ago

SRM.... MOST OFFICERS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SITUATION IN STEAMBOAT BECAUSE I KNOW!! I WAS ONE! That comment sounds like you are more than a little bitter, did you get caught "taking advantage of the situation in Steamboat"? Officers give orders.... sounds like you may have been fired. When the officers are giving orders (making tough decisions) physically fit makes for a clear mind. Is Oak Creek still paying for their cop to use a gym, on duty? Is an Oak Creek cop still allowed to go to a tanning booth... in uniform? Steamboat officers.... keep on ridin".


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.