Police Chief: Don’t interfere | SteamboatToday.com

Police Chief: Don’t interfere

Oak Creek Town Board debates new complaint reviews

Melinda Dudley

— With months of back and forth arguing and not a whole lot of ground gained, the Oak Creek Town Board is looking at devising a new complaint-review process for the Oak Creek police and other town departments.

Members of the board expressed frustration during Thursday night’s Town Board meeting because their attempts to review complaints and gain information from the police department have been hampered. Police Chief Russ Caterinicchio responded by telling the Town Board not to “micromanage my department.”

Police Commissioner Dave Ege, trying to review a complaint received about two weeks ago regarding Caterinicchio and Sgt. Erik

Foster, said information and

video from the traffic stop was denied to him because he’s not “authorized” to view it. That complaint still is being reviewed in-house, Caterinicchio said.

Concerning his view of the chain of command for his department, Caterinicchio said he answers to the majority consensus of the Town Board. But he also indicated their influence is limited to broad-scale policy.

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“You don’t micromanage my department. You’re merely an adviser,” Caterinicchio said.

Town officials will work with their attorney to determine exactly what information the Town Board and police commissioners have access to and what is limited by applicable state and federal law.

“We need to create a formal complaint process and solidify everything, write it down and have a handout for people,” Trustee Josh Voorhis said. “It’s a reasonable request, and it needs to be codified.”

Oak Creek’s current complaint process dictates that complaints should go first to the relevant department head, then to the appointed commissioners who oversee the department, and if necessary, to the Town Board. However, formal and informal complaints about the Oak Creek Police Department have circumvented that process for months – so much so that the former Town Board decided in March they had to ignore any that did not follow proper procedure.

Despite ongoing issues, the board approved a 2 percent merit increase for Caterinicchio based on his six-month performance review.

The Town Board also ap-proved a resolution formally expressing its support of forming a Boys & Girls Club satellite in Oak Creek. The South Routt School District has agreed Soroco Middle School or High School can be used until a permanent facility is built, Caterinicchio said.

Krall leaving

Mayor Pro-Tem Angie Krall on Thursday announced her resignation from the Oak Creek Town Board, effective July 10. Krall, who works for the U.S. Forest Service, has accepted a position as a forest archaeologist on the Rio Grande National Forest, based out of Monte Vista.

Krall was elected to a four-year term on the board in 2006 and was appointed mayor pro-tem later that year.