Thursday, September 18, 2008
Steamboat Springs Oak Creek officials met with the Routt County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday to iron out law enforcement responsibilities for the immediate future, after all but one of the Oak Creek Police Department's officers resigned last week.
The Oak Creek Town Board accepted the immediate resignations of embattled police Chief Russ Caterinicchio and Sgt. Erik Foster at its Sept. 11 meeting. Community service officer Tony VanDeventer, who handles code enforcement and animal control for Oak Creek, will work his last day with the department Friday.
The Routt County Sheriff's Office will respond to emergency calls from Oak Creek in the coming weeks, and the Oak Creek Police Department's remaining officer, Eileen Rossi, will handle nonemergency calls. Her schedule has not been ironed out, though she will remain part-time, Rossi said Wednesday.
There has been no discussion yet on what to do with any pending criminal cases or investigations that the departing officers were working on, Police Commissioner Chuck Wisecup said. For any future court appearances for which Caterinicchio or Foster are subpoenaed, the Town Board agreed to pay them $25 and reimburse them for mileage, Wisecup said.
In addition to handling emergency calls, the Routt County Sheriff's Office will assist the Oak Creek Police Department in any way that becomes necessary, Undersheriff David Bustos said.
The Sheriff's Office had a similar arrangement with the town after the previous Oak Creek police chief, Linda Koile, resigned in June 2007. Roughly four months elapsed between her resignation and Caterinicchio's first day on the job in October.
"We've done this before," Bustos said.
The town also is hoping occasionally to have traffic enforcement and mobile speed-measuring trailers on Main Street, and animal control officers from the Sheriff's Office may be able to patrol occasionally, Wisecup said.
Although he and Foster resigned amid intense scrutiny and controversy, Caterinicchio's letter of resignation noted that "I have enjoyed my tenure here, and leave with feelings of accomplishment."
The Town Board's acceptance of the trio of resignations was near-unanimous - Trustee Josh Voorhis objected to VanDeventer's resignation. Although the official minutes from the meeting reflect that he voted affirmatively, Trustee Dave Fisher said he abstained from voting on all three resignations. Fisher will have an opportunity to correct the minutes before the board approves them, Town Clerk Karen Halterman said Tuesday.
The Town Board is expected to begin discussions of the Oak Creek Police Department's future at its next meeting, Sept. 25.
"We'll be looking at the possibility of interviewing and hiring a couple of part-time officer candidates," Wisecup said.