The Town of Crawford on Oct. 16 continued its discussion of whether it should establish a municipal court. Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee was invited for a second time to speak on the subject.
Previously, the council had invited Judge Lynn French to share. The council has not made any final decision on whether or not to have a municipal court.
Sheriff McKee began by saying he wanted everyone to be "on the same page." He continued, "You actually have a pretty good thing going now with no charge from the county for the services that the sheriff's Office is providing."
If the sheriff's office provides additional services to the Town of Crawford to enforce its municipal ordinances, the sheriff's office would probably have to charge the town fees to pay for the extra law enforcement.
With ordinances, there are usually one or two warnings before a charge is filed to take someone to court, McKee explained.
"So we could have several calls where we are not creating any fees for the county," McKee said. Fees to reimburse the county and the town could be built in if charges are filed.
"I'm afraid it could get larger than the services we are providing up here," McKee said. "I have one guy on up here tonight and he's got the whole North Fork. I have one guy in Surface Creek and one guy in Delta. So, you see where my position is. If there's a couple of barking dogs up here, we're probably not going to break free and take care of those barking dogs."
According to McKee, it will cost the town money to have a court and they may not break even.
Jim Crook asked what a citizen can do to protect himself from vicious dogs. McKee said a citizen can do whatever is reasonable. Trustee Hetty Todd said she had encountered about 15 dogs, just trying to walk around the block. McKee suggested carrying bear spray to ward off the dogs. McKee also clarified that the Sheriff's Office already handles vicious dog complaints in Crawford. Handling dogs that are a nuisance would be a municipal ordinance.
"Vicious dogs by Colorado statute require a bite," McKee said. "We have to have an injury to a person or another domestic animal." Call the Sheriff's Office to file a complaint. A first complaint usually results in a summons. The dog is quarantined. The county judge will make a decision in the case.
The Sheriff's Office writes just a few violations on county ordinances to take them before the county court. The district attorney, McKee said, has agreed to do a very few prosecutions on a very few county ordinances. "We're very restrictive on how many we write in the county," McKee said.
Some barking dog problems can be handled without calling the sheriff. Trustees Larry Kontour and James Sorensen purchased a device for about $90 that emits a sound only dogs can hear. It activates when dogs bark. If the dog is within 75 feet of the device, the dog will learn to not bark because the noise hurts its ears.
Sorensen doesn't believe the town wants any additional law enforcement. Mayor Susie Steckel agreed. Sorensen then said they were interested in having a way for the sheriff's office to enforce some town ordinances which they can't right now.
McKee responded he will work with the town's attorney on a memorandum of agreement. The town, not the county, would be responsible for liability for the deputy responding to a call on municipal ordinances.
Kontour asked the clerk to find out what the added liability insurance for law enforcement would cost the town.
Jackie Savage, town clerk, said there are three ways to do code enforcement. The first is by having an intergovernmental agreement with the sheriff's office. Or Crawford could hire its own trained town marshal or the town can hire a part-time or full-time code enforcement officer.
Crook said the town had installed security cameras and motion lights to help stop vandalism. "How many vandals have you caught in the last year that have paid restitution back to this town?"
In the most recent incident, Larry Kontour was an eyewitness. The vandals were apprehended. They did community service.
McKee said there were three criminal mischief cases this year in Crawford and three were resolved.
There have been 41 total law enforcement incidents called into the sheriff's office or 911 in 9-1/2 months in Crawford. A couple of sexual assault cases are still under investigation. There have been 13 calls on disturbances, most of which have been cleared. Sometimes, just having a deputy arrive on the scene clears up the problem. Last year, there were only four animal control calls in Crawford. The total number of incidents in the county so far this year is 1,800.
Jim Crook stated Crawford does not need a court. Deb Imlah said it seems that most cases ae being taken care of with the current system.
The council will next take up the municipal court discussion on Nov. 6 with Lynn French and Jim Brown, town attorney. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. The public is always invited to attend town council meetings.blog comments powered by Disqus