Oak Creek police face uncertain future

Department must replace 3 officers who resigned

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— The future of the Oak Creek Police Department is uncertain, as is how the town's law enforcement needs will be met in the coming weeks.

Three of the department's four officers resigned Thursday. The Oak Creek Town Board unanimously accepted the resignations of Chief Russ Caterinicchio, Sgt. Erik Foster and Community Service Officer Tony VanDeventer at its meeting Thursday night.

The town's police commissioners are working to set up a meeting with the Routt County Sheriff's Office early next week to discuss policing Oak Creek throughout the coming weeks. Also undecided is whether, when and how the departing officers will be replaced.

"Right now, we've basically got (Officer Eileen Rossi) on emergency call-outs, and the Sheriff's Office will respond to emergency calls, as well," Police Commissioner and trustee Chuck Wisecup said.

"Someone will come, but it could be a while," Wisecup said.

Additional deputies will be available for calls in South Routt during the weekend until a more specific plan is finalized, Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall said Friday.

"Hopefully, next week we'll get together with all the powers that be and figure out what we're doing," Rossi said.

Wisecup said he and fellow Police Commissioner Dave Ege plan to sit down with VanDeventer on Monday to go through current code enforcement cases in Oak Creek. During the summer, the town directed VanDeventer to focus on enforcing the town's nuisance ordinance, and warnings were issued for abandoned vehicles, overgrown lots and other similar issues.

"We don't want to lose the effort that's been put into those cases," Wisecup said.

The Town Board tabled the discussion of bids for abatement work on noncompliant properties Thursday because of the resignations. VanDeventer's resignation is effective Sept. 18.

Caterinicchio and Foster resigned effective immediately, and both have turned in all town property, Rossi said Friday.

Caterinicchio and Foster were with the Oak Creek Police Department just less than one year. VanDeventer has been with the department since the spring. Rossi, who is a seasonal employee, expects to leave the state by the end of October.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com

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