Walt Vanatta: Police beat for May

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Walt Vanatta

Below is Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta’s monthly report to the Craig City Council regarding police department activity for May.

Crime summary:

The Craig Police Department responded to 1,384 requests for service in May, and Community Service responded to 180 requests.

Crimes of the month (written by Sgt. John Forgay)

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!” Well, actually the police know when they obtain video footage related to cases they investigate.

Take the recent case of vandalism aimed at a school official — the egging of a house by teens who were pulling a prank. Unless you are a “teen chef” bent on making breakfast at 10 p.m., you may be a suspect when an industrious officer checks a local store and identifies you on video buying a couple of cartons of eggs. Things became a little “scrambled” for three young men after that.

In another incident, a male was reported as being intoxicated in a local store and he had gone to the parking lot and entered a vehicle. Officers arrived and contacted the male sitting in his car with the motor running. He admited to drinking at a local bar (which was at least two miles away from his location at the store), but he claimed he wasn’t driving. He “walked” from the bar. The officer pointed out that the male was “not wet” from the continuous rain that had been coming down and walking would have certainly resulted in a less than dry condition. Add to that the store’s video showed the male arrived in the lot, driving his car.

Two busts in one: An officer made a traffic stop for a suspected intoxicated driver. As the suspect vehicle pulled to the side, the officer noted a lot of activity in the vehicle between driver and passenger. So much that the officer suspected they were switching positions. He found out, through his investigation, that they did indeed switch, but it turned out both had been drinking anyway. By law, each had control of the vehicle at some point, resulting in both being arrested for DUI. The passenger turned driver remarked that he was the “most soberest.”

They’re everywhere: A Routt County deputy, driving to Craig for training at the Moffat County Public Safety Center, passed a familiar truck and driver. He notified local officers that the driver had a warrant for his arrest in Routt County. Enough said, stop made, driver arrested.

Lock up: A local resident spotted two males trying to break into his car late at night. He called it in as the males ran from the area. Officers arrived and after some checking through the area, and some video footage from a local convenience store, they made contact with two male suspects, ages 18 and 16. The results of the investigation developed links to at least 10 vehicle burglaries, recovery of some property, including a handgun stolen from a car weeks before.

Believe it or not: A 40-ounce bottle of beer is not, repeat, not considered one beer.

Community service

Community service officers Josh Wright and Jill Nelson handled the following calls in May:

• Spoke to the owners and red tagged 12 abandoned vehicles. One vehicle was towed.

• Seven weed complaints. The property owners were spoken to and will bring the properties into compliance.

• Two code violations. The property owners were spoken to and will bring the properties into compliance.

• Forty-five junk/trash violations. The property owners were spoken to and will bring the properties into compliance.

• Thirteen administrative warnings for abandoned vehicles were issued.

• Two parking violation warnings were issued.

• Five parking citations were issued.

Miscellaneous:

• The annual law enforcement torch run for the Special Olympics in Craig was May 21. Several officers participated in the Special Olympics events at Moffat County High School.

• Drug Awareness Resistance Education graduation was May 13.

• The annual Craig Clean-Up was May 21 and 22 in Craig City Park.

• Officers assisted with Grand Olde West Days activities.

• The Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police has adopted the Leadership in Police Organizations leadership course. The curriculum was developed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and was adapted from a West Point Leadership Course.

It was designed to develop leaders at all levels of the organization. I am one of two police chiefs from the state who is certified as a facilitator/instructor for this program.

In the last week of May, I had the pleasure of facilitating week three of the program in Colorado Springs for a class of law enforcement supervisors from the Colorado Springs Police Department. This part of the class focuses on organizational issues concerning our environment, culture, change and ethics.

Both of our division commanders, Jerry DeLong and Bill Leonard, have gone through this leadership program and our goal is to have all of our sergeants attend.

In the March 2011 report, I provided a detailed review of the program, which I believe is a leadership model, which is the future of law enforcement.

Training:

• On May 6, community service officers Jill Nelson and Josh Wright attended “A Day of Understanding and Avoiding Dog Aggression” training at The Center of Craig.

• From May 17 to 20, corporals Travis Young and Alvin Luker, SRO Tony Gianinetti, and officers Eric Montes and Josh Martinez attended Reid Technique Interviewing and Interrogation training at the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

• From May 23 to 27, commander Bill Leonard and detective Jen Kenney attended Clandestine Laboratory Safety Certification training in Salt Lake City.

• From May 24 to 26, corporal Alvin Luker and K-9 Fury attended K-9 training in Jackson, Wyo., achieving the National Standards of Certification for Narcotics Certificate as set forth by the National Police Canine Association.

• On May 26, records technician Becky Otis and records manager Dixie Beck attended the Media Relations for the Road Officer/Records Release training at the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

• Several officers and civilian employees have completed courses through video and online training by the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency.

Events:

• Cops, Kids and Vets fishing day was June 4 at the Moffat County Public Safety Center. The fishing day was in cooperation with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265.

• The annual awards picnic has been scheduled for Sept. 1 at Loudy-Simpson Park.

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