Steamboat Springs An ordinance seeking to dissolve the Oak Creek Police Department was shot down and town trustees publicly censured Mayor J. Elliott during discussions about the police force at the Oak Creek Town Board meeting Thursday night.
Trustee Tom Bleuer moved to censure Elliott because of the mayor's "inappropriate and vindictive actions" related to recent discussions of law enforcement in Oak Creek. The Town Board voted, 4-2, in favor of the censure, which is an official reprimand.
Trustees Steve "Spike" Beven and John Crawford voted against the censure.
Earlier this week, Elliott asked the town's attorney to draft an ordinance dissolving the town's police department in favor of contracting with the Routt County Sheriff's Office for law enforcement in Oak Creek. Many of the town trustees and residents in attendance, even those who have been vocal about their displeasure with the OCPD, criticized Elliott for having the ordinance drafted without prior discussion and without sufficient research into the cost and implications of contracting with the Sheriff's Office.
At last week's public police forum, residents were nearly unified in saying that Oak Creek needs its own police department, Mayor Pro-Tem Angie Krall said.
"For this to come in front of us so soon after what I and many of the citizens feel was some genuine healing - it confuses the town," Krall said.
Elliott maintained that dissolution of the police department by these means was the best way to proceed, as the police forum did not make Oak Creek's problems go away.
"I felt this was the right thing to do. The town is so polarized and torn apart by this, we have so many other critical issues to deal with," Elliott said. "We just don't have time to keep beating this dead horse around."
Trustee and Police Commissioner Chuck Wisecup noted that work is being done after last week's forum, which was far from the end of the process.
"This thing didn't get broke overnight," Wisecup said of local law enforcement issues. "We're not going to fix it in five days."