Cedaredge Police Chief Dan Sanders reporting to the town board last month, said that a six-member police force is needed in Cedaredge.
The Cedaredge Town Board is looking to a 2017 budget that shows declining revenues in the general fund which pays for the police department. The losses stem from the decline of the local coal mining industry.
Sanders submitted a detailed report to trustees about police coverage in Cedaredge; about the high stress levels encountered by officers in the various aspects of their jobs; and about the need for a six-man department and retaining the experienced officers now on staff.
"It is my honest, humble, and professional opinion that we must maintain current staffing of our police department to assure that our professional standards stay, and that we provide the best security and safety to our citizens and businesses," states the report.
The Cedaredge department lost one officer recently and interviews have been scheduled for a replacement to keep the department up to strength.
"This is also a safety concern for our officers that cannot be overlooked," the report states. "Eliminating one police officer position would inevitably gut this department of its experienced staff and begin the trend of paying to train officers for adjacent agencies." The Cedaredge department has found in the past that hiring new academy graduates leads to their leaving the department after receiving job experience training to take better paying positions with other local agencies.
"The most junior officer in the department at this time is a six-year veteran of police work," Sanders noted. "We currently provide 24-hour police response 365 days per year." The department provides "19 to 20 hours per day of actual street coverage and another four to five hours of on-call response readiness. This means that if you have an emergency and a police officer is needed, you can pick up the phone any time of day and that request will be handled."