Oak Creek Town Board members swap positions

Board members alter administrative, police commission roles

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April 19, 2011: Issues with Oak Creek Police Department return

— After five years on the police commission, Oak Creek Town Board member Chuck Wisecup has been switched to the administrative commission, and Trustee Johrene Meyers-Story will take over the position of police commissioner.

The Town Board made the unanimous decision at Thursday’s meeting, but Mayor Nikki Knoebel talked about a possible switch almost a month ago when issues surfaced between Wisecup and Oak Creek Police Officer Lance Dunaway.

“I think it was just a conflict of personalities,” Meyers-Story said.

The issues emerged in the public sphere in early April after Dunaway wrote a letter to the Town Board explaining communication issues with Wisecup, who is also the Oak Creek fire chief.

Although Dunaway said communication issues between Wisecup and him have been ongoing, the last straw was when the Oak Creek Fire Protection District held a training exercise involving a mock traffic accident at Soroco High School in April.

As an educational tool to remind students about the dangers of driving drunk, the accident also served as a training exercise for law enforcement, including Colorado State Patrol troopers. Dunaway was not invited to or informed of the event, though he was on duty and in the area.

“I hope that this situation can be improved because the citizens and employees of this town deserve better,” Dunaway wrote in the letter.

Dunaway had no further comment on the matter since Thursday’s decision.

Meyers-Story said Friday that she’s looking at the switch as an opportunity to learn the ropes of law enforcement and that her objectivity could offer a new perspective to the two-person police commission.

Dawn Smith, the other police commissioner, works for the Routt County Sheriff’s Office.

“I can look at the situation from a civilian standpoint than a police standpoint,” Meyers-Story said.

Wisecup said during the meeting that he could remain involved in multiple aspects of the community no matter his title, and the board agreed.

“I can continue to be active,” Wisecup said. “It doesn’t matter what commission I’m on.”

On Friday, Meyers-Story echoed those sentiments.

“All in all, every single one of us is part of everything,” she said. “We help everyone, and we’re there for the people of Oak Creek and the staff, and it doesn’t matter what commission we’re on.”

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