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Kris Stewart to replace Jeff Wright as emergency manager

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Jeffrey Wright will be leaving his post as head of the Delta County Office of Emergency Management, effective Dec. 1.

Wright moved to Delta County with his wife and their four children in 2013. "We came here for the water," he said. "That's what I like most about western Colorado."

The family of six will soon grow to 10 with the pending adoption of four sibling children. The family plans to spend the next 12-18 months touring the country, visiting national parks, museums and historical sites and exposing the children to new and different experiences. "We plan to make it as educational of an experience as possible," said Wright.

Wright has been with the OEM just shy of four years and spent three and a half years with Delta County Dispatch beginning in 2013. He is also a POST-certified sheriff's deputy and a graduate of the Delta-Montrose Technical College (now Technical College of the Rockies) Law Enforcement Academy, and has worked as a firefighter and an EMT. Prior to moving to Delta County he headed the Department of Emergency Management for Kiowa County in southeastern Colorado until budget cuts did away with the position.

The best part of his job, he said, has been working with all of the groups, municipalities and districts as the umbrella agency over the past two years as the county updated its 2008 Emergency Management Plan.

His decision to leave comes at the end of the process. The final draft was released Oct. 26 and public comments are being accepted through Nov. 14.

Kris Stewart will take over for Wright and oversee the final phase of the plan. He will hold the dual title of head of OEM and evidence property room manager. Delta County Undersheriff Mark Taylor called Stewart "a good choice," in part, because he holds a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice and leadership studies from Johnson & Wales University in Denver and has worked with Wright in the emergency operations center. Stewart also applied for the position in 2013 and decided to re-apply, said Taylor.

Wright will spend his final days on the job helping Stewart adjust to his new duties. "I'm just kind of getting my feet under me," said Stewart.

Stewart has seven and a half years of service with the DCSO, beginning in August 2011, as a patrol deputy. He has been the county investigator for the past three and a half years, during which he undertook the duty of designing the Delta County Sheriff's Office's new evidence room. Since he designed the room and has developed accountability protocol, Taylor said he felt it was important Stewart remain with the evidence department.

Stewart credits a paid internship with the Department of Homeland Security for launching his career in law enforcement. He is also an EMT with 10 years of service to the North Fork Ambulance Association. Beginning in 2009 he has coordinated the multi-agency mock crash events for Paonia and Hotchkiss high school students. He is also the graphic designer for the North Fork Ambulance Association and designed its new logo when the association underwent re-branding efforts about two years ago.

Stewart also plans to continue as the CPR and first aid instructor for NFAA and will be updating the Delta County Emergency Management Facebook page for the public.

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