Joint meeting with County seals the deal
By David Josselyn
National concerns regarding police brutality and lethal force will not be coming to Central City anytime soon. As of January 1, 2017, Central City will no longer have a police force protecting its fine citizens; instead, dedicated county deputies will be patrolling the area and keeping us safe. On Wednesday, October 5, 2016, at precisely 5:00 p.m., the Central City Council had a special joint meeting with the County of Gilpin to cast their final vote on Resolution 16-29. Three citizens, one reporter, and Interim Chief Patric Stanton silently watched as the Resolution quickly passed and was subsequently signed. The Commissioners voted prior to this meeting in their regular meeting the day before. For the Central City Council casting yea votes were Alderman Jeff Aiken, Alderman Judy Laratta, Alderman Kathy Heider, and Mayor Ron Engels. The only holdout casting a loud ‘nay,’ was Alderman Shirley Voorhies. Alderman Voorhies commented that she is following the direction of her constituents and has been fighting on their behalf; however, she is looking forward to working with the County despite their differing viewpoints.
After the three-minute meeting adjourned, Council, Commissioners, law enforcement, and management all took turns giving thanks for the cooperative effort and work that went into making this arrangement a success. Alderman Aiken went out of his way to thank Chief Stanton and Officer Douglas for their service and for sticking through all of this. “It must be hard for them,” Aiken said acknowledging that they are watching their careers with the City come to an end. Alderman Heider echoed those sentiments and reminded all that if things do not go as planned, the City can exercise its option to reinstate a police department.
What this means
With the change of the calendar year, the only law enforcement patrolling the City of Central will be County deputies. The IGA puts several restrictions in place for the County while leaving a door open for the City to change its mind in the future. The deputies will be dedicated to the area in order to form reassuring relationships with the businesses and citizens and will be working out of the Central City Police Department in City Hall. All vehicles will have their titles transferred to the County, but there are no current plans to change the decals and will continue to carry the Central City name. There will be round-the-clock patrolling seven days per week (the genesis of this agreement). And finally, the IGA must be renewed annually giving the City the option to reinstate a police force if deemed necessary and economically feasible.