The Cedaredge Rod and Gun Club held its annual meeting last Saturday at the Stolte Shed. Dinner was catered by the Cedaredge High School Future Farmers of America and FFA students acted as volunteer servers. Members in attendance approved a bylaw change to create two new membership classifications -- a corporate membership and a daily membership for visitors. Another bylaw change approved by attendees will require the club's board of directors to elect club officers at the next regularly scheduled meeting following the annual meeting. Members also received a 2017 financial report including an announcement that the club gave out four $500 scholarships to high school students. Members were thanked for their generosity in supporting club functions and helping students.
Mark Taylor, Delta County undersheriff, was the club's guest speaker. Taylor has been part of the Delta County Sheriff's Office since 1989 when he joined the organization as a new graduate of the Delta-Montrose Technical College Criminal Justice Academy (now the police academy at Technical College of the Rockies). He has served as undersheriff since 2003.
In his speech Taylor outlined three law enforcement issues in Delta County: drugs, mental health and county-wide coverage.
Regarding drug enforcement, methamphetamine and heroin production and distribution are major concerns. As yet, the nationwide opioid epidemic has not surfaced in Delta County, but marijuana is an issue. Legal medicinal and recreational use of marijuana is not a concern but efforts required to limit large-scale operations and illicit distribution is a large drain on law enforcement resources. Abuse occurs when parties from outside the county (including international criminals from Russia and Cuba) purchase and rent property and set up illegal large-scale operations. Another source of abuse is tied to unscrupulous physicians who write bogus prescriptions for medical marijuana.
As for mental health issues, the sheriff's office has seen an increase in encounters with members of the public who are experiencing psychotic episodes. The office has been working with trained mental health clinicians to help with issues of intervention and transportation to appropriate facilities as alternatives to incarceration.
Taylor closed his speech by commenting that law enforcement coverage in the 1,149-square-mile area of Delta County continues to be a challenge.