Oak Creek, Yampa may split policing job

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— The towns of Yampa and Oak Creek face a shared difficulty - how to police on a budget.

At the Oak Creek Town Board meeting Thursday night, town trustees said they would be willing to discuss the option of sharing a community service officer after Karen Tussey, of the Yampa Town Board, said Yampa might be interested in discussing code enforcement job sharing.

The Town Board approved the community service officer position earlier this month. The officer was originally scheduled to be a part-time position to enforce ordinances in Oak Creek, but trustees said a full-time position might draw more applicants.

"We need to see what (Yampa's) expectations and needs would be, and ideally we think if we can make it more of a full-time position, it would make it more appealing to applicants," Police Commissioner Chuck Wisecup said.

Oak Creek Town Clerk Karen Halterman plans to arrange a meeting between the two governing bodies to discuss the option.

Mayor Pro-tem Wendy Gustafson said sharing an officer to handle smaller police matters would benefit both towns.

"I don't know that either one of us has the need or resources for a dedicated full-time, all-the-time officer, so if we can combine resources and keep somebody busy, we can benefit both towns," she said.

The Routt County Sheriff's Office has handled complaints in the town since the dissolution of the town's police force but will not field minor complaints or code violations. Gustafson said residents have said there is a need for an officer to handle those issues.

"The (issues) that most residents I talked to talked about are keeping trash out of yards, keeping dogs leashed and that sort of thing," she said. "I hope it will be done in the next couple of weeks. The sooner the better."

Also Thursday, the Oak Creek Town Board enabled Shorty's restaurant to begin the liquor license application process. The restaurant will resubmit an application in 30 days to gain full liquor license approval.

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