Oak Creek keeps police

Dissolution rejected; Oak Creek mayor censured


— 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."


nmypinon 9 years, 1 month ago

Ok this is getting real old. Above it says there is 11 comments,but there is only 6 ( now 7) why does the # keep going up but there are not any new posts???


prayerrequests 9 years, 1 month ago

PRAYER for Oak Creek always works.

Thank you to the untold numbers of prayer warriors who care about this little area in the mountains.

Next prayer and fast will be before elections.


nmypinon 9 years, 1 month ago

I agree that we need some sort of LE in OC.But I highly recommend that the officers(Weather Russ, Eric or??) live with in city limits. And that they stay on duty (or come back on duty) later than midnight.Usually if someone is going to get into a fight,argument,drive after drinking or whatever the case may be it is usually going to happen late at night. Thats just mypinon!


nmypinon 9 years, 1 month ago

Enough with the prayer already.If you are into all that prayer does it should not matter when you do it!


Scott Wedel 9 years, 1 month ago

J Elliott noted that back in November there was discussion of police dept issues and the promise that they were being worked on. If the current situation is 5 months of progress then the ability for OC to supervise and manage a police dept has to questioned.

When a town has as many police chiefs as OC has in the past 8 years and the longest serving police chief was someone that some thought was incompetent then OC's ability to manage a police dept has to be questioned.

When a town that desires local community based policing has an officer with no previous connection to OC or South Routt who lives an hour away then OC's judgement in managing a police dept has to be questioned.

I consider the issue of OC police telling hitch hikers that they had to walk outside of town limits to catch a ride indicative of the lack of trust in the Chief, police commissioners and Town Board's ability to supervise and manage the police dept. I have not heard anyone doubt that was happening to hitch hikers. A citizen at the police forum presented research indicating there is nothing in Colorado State law that prohibits hitch hiking on a highway such as 131. He then asked what town ordinance prohibited hitch hiking. He got no answer that night. I again asked that question last night. I also got no answer. So the question remains: Were the police acting legally when they were telling hitch hikers they had to walk outsiide of town limits to catch a ride? That such a simple question regarding police enforcement against hitch hiking in Town limits cannot get a clear answer from the police commissioners or the Town Board does not build trust that issues are being handled promptly or competently.

At the current time, there would be more trust in OC's law enforcement if the Sheriff's dept hired Chief Russ and Sergeant Foster to police OC than the current situation of these same personnel reporting to the OC police commission and Town Board.

I do not believe that OC should have dissolved the police dept last night. But if OC cannot figure out how to supervise and management a police dept in a way that results in effective policing and public trust then there will come a point when OC should give up and instead pay the Sheriff's dept to provide police services. Another 5 months with the sort of progress as the past 5 months will make closing the OC police and contracting with the Sheriff's dept a far more plausible and popular suggestion than it was last night.


Erik Foster 9 years, 1 month ago

Scott- you seem to know everything already. You have access to all of the laws, read the ones about hitchhiking. Be an informed citizen, not one who complains all the time about what has happened to people you know. Have you ever been told you could not hitchhike? Do you understand that Colo. "Highway" 131 is a highway?

Russ lives literally 3 min out of town, Eric also lives in a small community (Clark is not anywhere near as big as OC). The Sheriff's Office and Steamboat are consistently looking for good officers, to think we can hire all of our officers from the town is rediculous. Jay was even complaining that we could not find a qualified code officer much less qualified police.

I for one agree with Angie that the last meeting was one of healing and listening for a change rather than an all-out bashing like I read in the forum everyday. I keep reading about how you want an officer to respond at 2am. I keep reading how the business owners think the pd is scaring away business at night for fear of dui arrests. I keep reading that officers are harassing people walking home from the bars. I keep reading that there is not enough money to hire more officers.

Do the citizens of Oak Creek want more officers with around the clock coverage? Do you want Russ to work in the evenings instead of during the days? Bring that up to him or Eric. Just be clear what you want. Quit complaining about not enough coverage in the evenings, then flip-flop and complain about too much coverage in the evenings! I've seen Eric running around town late at night on Fri and Sat nights. Seems to me those are the busy nights!

If the officers work a combined 60 hours a week (SoRoMuk-this math is for you), and there are actually 168 hours in the week, how can the officers cover the remaining 102 hours at night including those fireworks calls at 4am, or the dog complaints at midnight on a Tuesday? You willing to pay either officer overtime? Are you expected to work additional hours without pay?

Just chill people with the complaining! I love Oak Creek and want it to be the best little town in Routt!


forreal 9 years, 1 month ago

i heard nasty rumour about the ocpd that i pray isn't true. i heard that it is unlawful to throw snowballs and is considered an act of violence. this situation is unacceptable and if it is true the ocpd should be forced out. it's silly, thoughtless laws like that that make this country a difficult place to live in. in short, get a life.


justathought 9 years, 1 month ago

Trustee Tom Bleuer moved to censure Elliott because of the mayor's "inappropriate and vindictive actions", the Town Board voted, 4-2, in favor of the censure, CONGRATULATIONS, finally a board with a spine! Too bad Bleuer isn't running for a seat, it's OC's loss. Pay attention OC, use your vote wisely, OC could actually end up with a board and mayor that cares more about the good of town than their own personal agenda. The best thing that could happen to OC would be to reelect Wisecup and WISELY replace Elliot, Crawford and Beven, look closely at the candidates for hidden agendas because this election is the perfect chance for OC to embrace the future.


ptrpaul1 9 years, 1 month ago

I truly believe that Dr. Chief Russel the muscle is worth keeping if he can open his eyes and mind. He needs to understand that small town policing is different than Lone Tree. He needs to understand that he lives where he $#!+$ and in order to do that, he needs to have an open mind. It took me several years to learn that but once learned, it stuck. Good luck to everybody.


grannyrett 9 years, 1 month ago

I don't know, but isn't the law in OC the same as the law in Steamboat and Craig and Hayden? You guys think you're special and the laws are for everyone but those that live in OC? You get a Chief that enforces the laws and complain about it? What gives? Just because you live in a small town doesn't mean the laws are different or don't apply to you and yours.


Scott Wedel 9 years, 1 month ago

I thought you might know what you were talking about so I decided to look up hitchhiking in the online CRS.

Guess what? It PROVES OC police acting improperly when telling hitchhikers to go outside of town limits. C.R.S 42-4-805 (2) No person shall stand in a roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride from the driver of any private vehicle. For the purposes of this subsection (2), "roadway" means that portion of the road normally used by moving motor vehicle traffic.

(3) It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of alcohol or of any controlled substance, as defined in section 12-22-303 (7), C.R.S., or of any stupefying drug to walk or be upon that portion of any highway normally used by moving motor vehicle traffic.

(5) Any city or town may, by ordinance, regulate the use by pedestrians of streets and highways under its jurisdiction to the extent authorized under subsection (6) of this section and sections 42-4-110 and 42-4-111, but no ordinance regulating such use of streets and highways in a manner differing from this section shall be effective until official signs or devices giving notice thereof have been placed as required by section 42-4-111 (2).

(6) No person shall solicit a ride on any highway included in the interstate system, as defined in section 43-2-101 (2), C.R.S., except at an entrance to or exit from such highway or at places specifically designated by the department of transportation; or, in an emergency affecting a vehicle or its operation, a driver or passenger of a disabled vehicle may solicit a ride on any highway.

(7) Pedestrians shall only be picked up where there is adequate road space for vehicles to pull off and not endanger and impede the flow of traffic.

(section 1 is long and talks about walking along a highway)

This section states that solicting a ride is legal and certainly standing on the sidewalk opposite the post office meets all the requirements of properly solicting a ride.

If there were an OC ordinance banning hitch hiking then since OC has failed to post signs stating that then section 5 states that OC would have failed to follow state law in implementing that ordinance.

Thus, it was not lawful for OC police to tell hitch hikers to walk out of town before catching a ride even if there is an obscure town ordinance banning it.

I do not hate the police. I am offended when the police violate our civil rights. I do not accept the premise that in order to have law enforcement requires the people of OC abandoning their civil rights.


Erik Foster 9 years, 1 month ago

Good points Scott... Seriously though, have your rights been violated? Why haven't these friends of yours made a bigger deal of it? Are you their legal representation? When was the last time your friends were harassed?

Why is this such a big deal for you? What is your motivation to get rid of these guys? Seems to me you and Russ are pretty tight! I know you keep coming in to court to testify FOR him, not against him. If he is such a bad, unethical guy, why do you help him? Why not call the Sheriff each time somebody does something bad on your property instead of your OCPD?

Chll Scott...your world is not over, neither are your friends'. Chicken Little, the sky is NOT falling.


bluntman 9 years, 1 month ago

Scott; why don't you go ahead and try a little bit of the ol' style Civil Disobedience if you feel that your Civil Rights (or anyone else's that you are advocating for) have been violated. next time you're headed back to Steamboat, hoof it on down to the roadside across from the post office and stick your thumb up...

into the air and see for yourself if your Civil Rights really do get violated, harrassed, intimidated, blah, blah, blah. what next, are you going to set up a tent and camp out on the front lawn of Town Hall by the lighted Santa & reindeer display just to get your point across?

enough about the Poolice already. sooo boring. i challenge you talk for a while (in an intelligent manner) about any of the other issues that are far more important to everyone, instead of the non-issue that only serves to divide the Community of Oak Creek.


oofcboy 9 years, 1 month ago

one of the reason I didnt get the job of head of public works was because I didnt live in oak creek they said yampa was to far away


aristocat 9 years, 1 month ago

BMAN, unless I'm mistaken this article IS about the OC police. You must not be too bored about them. You continue to post about them. Besides someday you might have to stick your thumb out to get somewhere or home from somewhere.


dogmom 9 years, 1 month ago

I personally have no problem with the pd enforcing the laws, but I have a big problem with the attitude that seems to be attached. Law enforcement officers need to remember that first and foremost their job is to help people, even the ones that are f-ing up. I really do feel that the majority of the officers in Stmbt and the rsco have that attitude. Because of that they are very rarely involved in physical altercations and the public is more willing to help them when they need it. I think if Russ took a page out of their book and approached each situation with a "how can I improve or solve this problem" attitude, he would get a lot less flack from the community. Obviously there will always be a contingency of people that don't like the police. I do believe the majority of people would prefer to have a local department. We just want to be treated with respect when were spoken to. A police officer that so obviously looks down on the people that he is sworn to protect is never going to get the respect his job demands


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