County looks to state for Dinosaur's police woes

Moffat County officials are looking to the state for help in solving the law enforcement woes in Dinosaur.

The town of 320 people near the Utah border has been without a full-time officer since both marshals resigned in August to take higher-paying jobs in Northwest Colorado's oil fields.

The staffing problem was magnified in January when the Moffat County sheriff's deputy who patrols the western end of the county moved to Craig because his rental home in Dinosaur was sold.

Now, Moffat County commissioners and Sheriff Buddy Grinstead hope the state will give the county a grant to pay for deputy housing in Dinosaur.

Commissioners have made paying for housing for a sheriff's deputy in Dinosaur their top priority in the next round of grant requests from the state's Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Fund.

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs administers energy impact grants to counties to help offset the costs of energy development. The department issues the grants in three cycles annually -- April, August and December.

Since 1995, the department has given more than $10 million in energy impact grants to Moffat County entities.

Moffat County Commissioner Tom Gray said the law enforcement woes in Dinosaur are the result of energy industry employees moving into the area and filling up the housing there.

"We do think that is a direct result of the energy impacts," Gray said.

Grinstead said the amount of the grant request hasn't been determined.

The county probably will ask the state to pay for a modular home in Dinosaur and the county will provide the land, Grinstead said.

Moffat County budget analyst Tinneal Gerber said the county placed the request for deputy housing in Dinosaur ahead of grant requests for equipment for Craig Fire/Rescue, new sidewalks for the Sunset Meadows retirement community and road paving for the city of Craig.

Commissioners will finalize the grant requests at their regular meeting March 28.

Gray said if the state approves the request next month, the county hopes to have a home in place and a deputy living there by the end of the year.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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