Hayden seeking help staffing police department | CraigDailyPress.com

Hayden seeking help staffing police department

— Still an officer down, the town of Hayden plans to enlist the help of the Routt County Sheriff’s Office.

The Hayden Town Council is expected to formalize an agreement with the Sheriff’s Office during a meeting Thursday. Town staff members will give their reports beginning at 7 p.m. The regular meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.

The town has been short one police officer since July 8 when Town Manager David Torgler fired Chief Gordon Booco. For fear that the town could open itself up to a lawsuit, Torgler would not discuss what led to the firing.

Mark Berkley was named the officer in charge, and the town has hired a search firm to identify chief candidates. The firm is working for a discounted rate of $6,800.

Without that position filled, town officials think Hayden cannot adequately provide its own law enforcement services.

According to a contract the Town Council will consider approving, the Sheriff’s Office is willing to provide at no charge basic law enforcement necessary to “keep the peace.” That means in-progress calls involving violent misdemeanors and felonies or backing up Hayden officers.

If helping the Hayden department creates an overtime or budget issue, the Sheriff’s Office will bill the town. The town also can pay to have Sheriff’s Office deputies scheduled for “extra duty.” The Sheriff’s Office would charge $56 per hour plus mileage at $1 per mile.

In addition to addressing the police department staffing issue, the Town Council is expected to give its final approval to an ordinance banning the retail, manufacturing and cultivation of marijuana. Town Council members on Aug. 15 unanimously approved the first reading of the ordinance. Mayor Jim Haskins and councilman Festus Hagins were absent from the meeting.

The council also will hear from resident Corey Hunter, who is president of the nonprofit Hayden Motorsports Association, a group formed in August. Hunter wants to improve the Hayden Speedway and start holding races again at the town-owned track, which stopped hosting races in 2010. Hunter has launched a campaign to raise $30,000 to get the track ready for the 2014 race season.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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