Walt Vanatta: Police beat for September | CraigDailyPress.com

Walt Vanatta: Police beat for September

Editor’s note: Below is a summary of the Police Chief’s monthly report to the Craig City Council regarding Craig Police Department activity for September.

The department responded to 1,384 requests for service in September and Community Service responded to 218 requests for service.

Crimes of the month

Written by administrative Sergeant John Forgay

There is a basic premise to the designated driver program. The idea behind it is if a person has had too much to drink, they enlist a friend or relative to drive them home.

This gets thrown out of perspective when the person called on to do the driving also has been drinking.

Such was a recent case when an officer, who observed a violation of traffic laws, stopped a vehicle and found that the driver was called on to drive because a passenger had been drinking.

The officer then determined that the driver also had been consuming alcohol.

Close, but no cigar. DUI arrest.

Along the same lines was another traffic stop based on driver actions.

The problem was the driver was not that skilled at driving a larger SUV.

The driver was asked to drive because the owner had been drinking.

Almost good to this point in the plan. However, the odor of alcohol could be smelled coming from the vehicle by the officer. This resulted in the driver being checked further and found to have not been drinking.

Still, a good plan at this point.

Next, the officer notes that there are four passengers in the back seat, some appearing to be underage. One is bent over, head on the seat back of the front seat and a pool of vomit, was on the floor just below this young man.

Well, the investigation is just beginning and the plan is falling apart.

Passengers are asked to exit the vehicle, which they do, and so do several loose beer bottles – “clink, clink, spill, spill.”

Continuing the examination of the vehicle, three (yes, count ’em, three) more passengers are found to be lying on the cargo floor in the rear of the SUV, with, yes, loose beer bottles, some in the open and spilling.

Separate the 21 or older from the underage passengers and the result is four underage people cited for minor in possession. The vehicle owner, who is responsible for the actions of those in her vehicle, was cited for providing alcohol to underage kids. She was the one who drank and asked the non-drinking friend to drive.

Burglary gone bad

Two males apparently decided to commit a couple of burglaries in town. In the process of planning, they were overheard and this information was relayed to the police department.

Several officers spent an evening and into early morning hours in less than comfortable conditions, as they watched two businesses that were targeted.

After 2:30 a.m., the savvy criminals headed for their first target, not noticing they were being followed (we call that stealthy surveillance).

They approached the target business in their attempt to break in, not noticing that they were being watched by several officers. Surprise! Party over.

Two adult males go to jail for suspicion of attempted burglary, criminal mischief, possession of burglary tools and the ever popular, conspiracy.

Community service

Community Service Officers handled the following calls:

• Spoke to the owners and red-tagged 23 abandoned vehicles. No vehicles were towed.

• Handled 28 weed complaints. The owners were spoken to and will bring the property into compliance.

• Handled 16 code violations. The owners were spoken to and will bring the property into compliance.

• Handled 22 junk/trash violations. The owners were spoken to and will bring the property into compliance.

• Issued one code enforcement violation ticket.

• Issued two parking warnings.


• We tested to fill our vacant officer position June 15 and offered a conditional offer of employment to Ryan Fritz, effective Sept. 8.

• Community Service Officer Josh Martinez is enrolled in the Criminal Justice Program at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely. His education is in exchange for several police vehicles we have donated to CNCC. Once Josh finishes the academy, he will be transferred to the patrol division.

Testing for the Community Service Officer position vacated by Josh Martinez will be conducted during October.


• On Sept. 10, officer Fritz attended Non-Deadly Shotgun Operators and Patrol Rifle Operators training at the Public Safety Center in Craig.

• On Sept. 10 and 11, corporals Bryan Gonzales and Travis Young and sergeant Marvin Cameron attended the following training: Public Information for the Road Officer, Off Duty Survival, Criminal Tattoos and Improvised Weapons and Officer Safety at the Public Safety Center in Craig.

• Sept. 14 through 18, officer Lance Eldridge attended the 2009 Advanced Law Enforcement Training Camp in Provo, Utah, and completed 32 hours of advanced firearms training.

• Sept. 14 through 25, task force officer Bob Brabo attended the Basic Drug Investigators School in Denver.

• Sept. 15 through 18, Corporal Alvin Luker attended Tactical Shooting Instructor Development training in Castle Rock.

• On Sept. 16 and 17, records manager Dixie Beck attended National Based Incident Reporting System Regional Training in Grand Junction.

• Sept. 16 through 18, detectives Jen Kenney and Carolyn Miller attended the Colorado Association of Sex Crimes Investigators Conference in Lakewood.

• Sept. 21 through 30, I attended the Leadership in Police Organizations Faculty Development Workshop in Longmont.

• Sept. 22 through 24, commander Bill Leonard and administrative sergeant John Forgay attended Terrorism Liaison Officer training in Denver.

• Sept. 23 and 24, all sworn officers attended Basic Identity Theft training at the Public Safety Center in Craig.

• On Sept. 24, officer John Meyers completed Standard First Aid training at the Public Safety Center in Craig.

• On Sept. 25, corporals Gonzales and Young, and officers Fritz and Norm Rimmer attended Bullet Proof Mind training in Grand Junction.

Upcoming events

The annual Substance Abuse Prevention Program pancake breakfasts will be Nov. 7 and 14 at McDonald’s in Craig.

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