Police issues back on agenda | SteamboatToday.com

Police issues back on agenda

Oak Creek Town Board to focus on public complaints

Melinda Dudley

— Complaints against the Oak Creek Police Department again are at issue and will be discussed at tonight’s Town Board meeting.

A good deal of grumbling has gone on in town in the past few weeks, after a bartender at the Elk’s Tavern was cited for serving visibly intoxicated patrons. However, those doing the complaining are again circumventing complaint and review procedures the town has put in place, according to Police Chief Russ Caterinicchio.

“We’re having some problems in having our public follow the procedures of making complaints, and working overtime to politicize them before we have the opportunity to respond to them fairly,” Caterinicchio said.

The complaint process for Oak Creek police – or any other town department – dictates that any complaints should first go to the department head, then to the appointed commissioners who oversee that department, and if necessary, to the Town Board.

The process and the substance of recent complaints will be at issue tonight, police commissioner Dave Ege said, though he declined to comment further on the issue before tonight’s meeting, where town attorney Bob Weiss will be on hand.

The Town Board also will discuss the results of the 2008 Community Survey, which was mailed to residents in March. The results were coded by a group of Soroco High School students, under the leadership of teacher Tammy Gilleland.

Recommended Stories For You

In the survey, which included questions about the police department, a sizeable majority of respondents indicated they have noticed an increased police presence in Oak Creek and in their immediate neighborhoods. However, reaction to that increase was more varied. While almost half agreed they felt good about the increased police presence, a third disagreed, according to the results.

“When we started, there were complaints about a very strong police presence,” Caterinicchio said, referring to the police department reforming last fall. “Now, we have virtually no traffic tickets. Traffic on Main Street has calmed down so much that we’ve moved on to other areas.”

Also on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting:

– A presentation by outgoing South Routt School District Superintendent Kelly Reed, about electricity rates for the Soroco High School and Soroco Middle School campus

– A presentation from Tim Geiger about park equipment for Sierra View Park

– Resolution to establish a Boys and Girls Club

– Police Chief Evaluation recommendation

– To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203 or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com