Twenty years ago, the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office employed three district investigators. Gradually, that number was reduced to one investigator to cover the tri-county district.
On Tuesday, District Attorney Bonnie Roesink told the Moffat County commissioners she hopes to bring those numbers back up. Roesink said she will propose hiring another investigator, preferably a person to work out of either the Routt or Grand county office, .in 2008.
"It's a real difficult job," Roesink said, "but it's an important one."
The district attorney's office currently employs investigator Joe DeAngelo, who works out of the Craig office.
DeAngelo, who has been the district investigator since February 2006, agrees with Roesink that the judicial district could use another investigative hand. He said he has anywhere from four to 10 investigations going at a time.
"Absolutely," he said. "Sixty percent of my total workload is Moffat County. That leaves 40 percent of my time to the two other offices. ... The crimes (in Routt and Grand counties) are just as serious, and the need is just as great."
The commissioners did not commit to hiring a new investigator. Commissioners said they would keep Roesink's request in mind when budget talks begin later this summer.
DeAngelo said the district attorney's office takes child abuse cases, or any crimes against children "extraordinarily serious."
Roesink credited DeAngelo's investigations with helping bring three cases -- two alleged sexual assaults on a child, and an alleged child abuse, all in Moffat County -- to the point where the suspected offenders could be charged in court.
She said another investigator could relieve some of DeAngelo's workload and offer the same kind of assistance to criminal probes in Routt and Grand counties.
The commissioners also received another update regarding the district attorney's office, albeit from a source other than Roesink.
Steamboat Springs resident Thomas Reuter Jr., who was recently released from prison after serving a sentence for tampering with a witness, has began circulating a recall petition against Roesink, the second such effort this year.
Reuter spoke to the commissioners about the effort Tuesday and presented them a flier stating why he's undertaken the cause. He said his recall petition is in response to "egregious D.A. mistakes" during Roesink's term.
The commissioners did not comment on Reuter's petition, which is a duplicate of the failed petition Craig resident Kathy Oberwitte circulated earlier this year.
As she did during the Oberwitte petition, Roesink denied all the claims made against her by Reuter.
"I would just say the same thing," she said.
Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or firstname.lastname@example.org.