Cop woes remain in Dinosaur
Officials cite lack of housing as reason for vacancies
Almost six months after both police officers in Dinosaur resigned, the town remains without a full-time officer.
The Moffat County sheriff’s deputy who patrols the area moved to Craig last week, making the already small police presence in the town of 320 people near the Utah border even smaller.
Officials say a lack of housing in the tiny town is making it difficult to find officers or keep a sheriff’s deputy in the area.
Dinosaur has been without a town marshal since both officers resigned in August to take higher-paying jobs in Northwest Colorado’s oil fields. Since the officers resigned, an officer from Rangely has been working part time in Dinosaur.
“At this point, we’re not exactly sure where we’re going,” said Dinosaur Town Councilor Chrystal AuMiller.
Moffat County Commis–sion–ers, the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office and the Dinosaur Town Council discussed working out an agreement to share the cost of a sheriff’s deputy to cover the town of Dinosaur.
The agreement would have required the town to provide housing for a sheriff’s deputy to patrol western Moffat County and housing for an additional deputy to patrol the town and a portion of the area surrounding the town, Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead said.
But the agreement fell through this week.
AuMiller said the town councilors rejected the agreement because there isn’t housing in Dinosaur.
“Every house in this town is full,” AuMiller said.
The lack of housing was also the reason Moffat County Sheriff’s Cpl. Vic Alton moved from Dinosaur to Craig, Grinstead said.
Alton will continue to patrol the western part of Moffat County, Grinstead said, but he won’t be near Dinosaur every day.
The Sheriff’s Office will respond to emergency calls in Dinosaur, Grinstead said. But with 90 miles between Craig and Dinosaur, the response time will often be slow, he said.
When Dinosaur incorporated as a town, it assumed the responsibility for law enforcement within the city limits, Grinstead said, so the county will send a bill to the town for any calls within Dinosaur.
Grinstead and the commissioners are looking into finding housing for a sheriff’s deputy in Dinosaur.
“It’s to the advantage of the sheriff and the advantage of the county to have someone in place out there,” Commissioner Saed Tayyara said.
The town council is considering asking the state for grants to help pay for an officer, AuMiller said. But until the housing situation is worked out, AuMiller said she isn’t sure what will happen with the police force.
AuMiller said she doesn’t feel less safe in Dinosaur because there isn’t a police force.
Most of the crime in town is barking dogs and kids playing on four-wheelers, she said.
“It’s just typical small-town stuff,” she said.
Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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