Vanatta appointed to regional board

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta has been tapped to represent local Colorado law enforcement as a board director with the Rocky Mountain Information Network.

The Phoenix-based RMIN -- which serves some 921 police agencies in eight states from Arizona stretching into Canada -- is one

of six regional centers that make

up Regional Information

Sharing Systems.

The organization was established in 1983 by the U.S. Department of Justice with the goal to "enhance the ability of state and local criminal justice agencies to identify and remove criminal conspiracies and activities

spanning jurisdictional boundaries," according to a Craig police news release.

Vanatta was named to the position by Colorado Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Cantwell.

As a director with the group, the chief will have input on budgetary and policy matters, as well as a say on programming requests.

Dissemination of information from federal to local agencies emerged as a critical theme for the group after Sept. 11, Vanatta said.

"Local law enforcement needs to get timely information instead of seeing it on CNN," he said.

RMIN's stated mission covers a range of law enforcement issues. The group seeks to break down geographical or organizational walls by enabling agencies to better share information. Specifically, it aims to implement a state-of-the art network of databases connecting member agencies to RISS and other national and local crime databases, according to the release.

Vanatta said his connections to RMIN date back to his previous job as chief of police in Kremmerer, Wyo. between 1995-1998.

Craig has already tapped RMIN as a training and funding resource -- recently paying costs associated with a two-week Spanish-language training course for local officers.

"Agencies that don't have money for that can get funding," Vanatta said.

"It never hurts to be involved in an association that provides that kind of stuff. People know you and it helps get things approved."

Rural law enforcement also needs better representation with groups like RMIN, he said.

"A lot of times these positions are filled by metro area law enforcement," Vanatta said. "I've worked in large and small departments, so I think I can bring an understanding of both."

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com.

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