Privatization Too High a Price for Green Mountain Falls Public Safety

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There has been a lot of talk lately about public safety in Green Mountain Falls and many of our citizens have contacted me with their concerns. I wanted to address the public safety issue and why as Mayor of Green Mountain Falls and a fellow resident, I believe preserving the current law enforcement leadership and the Police Department is critical to maintaining what we have all come to expect and love about Green Mountain Falls.

When the Waldo Canyon Fire was at our back door, it was our Public Safety Department that took the lead in organizing emergency operations for the town. It was this department who was first contacted about the fire and it was this department who kept our town safe from looters who would have had a very easy target. As you may recall, no homes were broken into in Green Mountain Falls during the seven days we were evacuated. What we have learned through the Waldo Canyon Fire is that our community values and respects the need for professional and full-time law enforcement through our safety net.

Some have suggested that we look into the possibility of privatizing our law enforcement or even having El Paso County provide that service for us. I have to disagree with both ideas. A private security company cannot provide our town with the quality of services that a police department can. How would a private security company provide the needed support and the professional law enforcement backup needed in case of an incident such as another fire or when crimes occur? A private security company would not be able to perform the statutory duties or the certifications necessary to keep the peace. And, we know we cannot call on the El Paso Sheriff’s Office every time there is an incident in Green Mountain Falls. As far as safety goes – would it be in the best interests for the Fire District Board to contract out for a private fire department? Just as in the case of our police department – absolutely not!

Having El Paso County provide service to our town is something I cannot support. While we appreciate the partnership and mutual aide that the Sheriff’s Office provides, the cost associated with having a substation in Green Mountain Falls would outweigh the current budget of the department. Why would the board even consider such an idea? When the last flood event occurred, it was our Police Department who was first on seen. The west bound lanes of highway 24 were covered with water. Water was also covering the east bound lanes in Cascade. It took 20 minutes for the Sheriff to get up the pass. In that 20 minutes our Police Department had closed the east bound lanes and had already diverted traffic back up the pass so that no injuries would occur. We are living with the constant concern that one day there will be a major flood. When the flood event happens, Ute Pass is going to be closed. No one knows how long or when it will happen. What we do know is that we are going to need law enforcement around when it occurs.

I am not willing to risk the safety of the citizens of Green Mountain Falls to save a few dollars, even if the presumed savings have not been vetted through any potential proposal. Our town could just as easily contract out for public works, but that too would be a safety issue, knowing the flooding and infrastructure needs our town has. I realize that sometimes mistakes are made that put us in opposition of law enforcement, but that does not justify reducing the public safety of our town. I see citizen transparency and support of our public safety department as my priority. Maintaining the quality of service and professionalism of the Police Department in Green Mountain Falls is critical to the future of our wonderful community.

 

Lorrie Worthey

Mayor Green Mountain Falls