MONTE VISTA — The Monte Vista City Council Thursday ordered an in-depth investigation of both the city administration and the police department.
The decision to order the probe came after a lengthy public comment period and an executive session with City Attorney Eugene Farish.
Mayor Pro-Tem Debbie Garcia made it clear Monday that the council currently has no intention of terminating City Manager Don Van Wormer or demanding that he fire Police Chief Rick Needham, pending completion of the joint investigation.
Garcia said the council had ordered the wide-scale probe because Van Wormer, as city manager, was to supervise the supervisors and that apparently hadn’t happened.
At the meeting Thursday, it was pointed out that the buck for problems in the police department stopped on Van Wormer’s desk.
Garcia and community activist Bob Bryning said they had possession of some 50 complaints and around 23 written statements, which had not been signed because the writers wanted to protect themselves from retaliation.
The fact that the letters were unsigned brought their veracity into question during the council meeting.
Farish said the Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency (CIRSA) would be asked to do the investigation. The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) apparently has been compiling information regarding complaints lodged by Monte Vista police officers and a list of issues was provided, but no specifics are available.
Needham said Monday that he was not aware that the FOP had been looking into his department and could not address the allegations until he knew what they were.
For the complete article see the 06-13-2012 issue.
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