City hires interim police chief, public information officer for remainder of police misconduct investigation
Steamboat Springs — Craig Police Department Division Commander Jerry DeLong will lead the Steamboat Springs Police Department while an investigator looks into allegations of misconduct against Steamboat Police Chief Joel Rae and Deputy Police Chief Bob DelValle.
The city of Steamboat Springs also has hired Karl Gills, retired CEO of Yampa Valley Medical Center, to serve as a public information officer during the investigation.
“The investigation will necessarily involve many of those who generally speak for the city, which puts them in a conflicted position,” City Manager Deb Hinsvark was quoted as saying in a press release. “Mr. Gills has no conflicting history with any of those involved with the investigation and can be an objective contact point and disseminator of information.”
Hinsvark said Gills will not be directly involved in the investigation, but he will have access to people involved in it.
The city manager said the city’s management team brainstormed names of people in the community who could serve as the PIO for the investigation, and Gills’ name came up as a strong candidate for the job.
Gills, who served as YVMC CEO for 11 years, will receive $6,000 per month during the investigation, which is expected to last 60 to 90 days.
He is scheduled to start next week.
DeLong, who will serve as the city’s interim police chief, has been with the Craig Police Department since 1985.
He has been the division commander for the last eight years and is the second-highest ranking officer in the police department.
Rae and DelValle have been placed on paid administrative leave while an investigator looks into several claims of misconduct against them.
DeLong will serve in Steamboat four days a week during the investigation.
Hinsvark said the city will pay the city of Craig $349 for every day DeLong serves as interim police chief.
“He was self-selected,” Hinsvark said. “Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta has two long-term division commanders, either of whom could have done this job for us. Jerry decided to oblige us, and we are pleased to have him here helping out.”
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