by Rick Langenberg:
In yet another big shakeup for a local law enforcement agency, a new changing of the guard has occurred for the Cripple Creek Police Department, with a familiar chief grabbing the head leadership ropes.
April Peterson, who held the Cripple Creek police chief position for the last two years, and worked as a lead officer for more than a decade, has officially stepped down. Details are still sketchy regarding her sudden resignation. Peterson was voted as one of the top public servants in a recent Best of Cripple Creek survey, sponsored by The Mountain Jackpot newspaper.
For the next five months, Mike Rulo, the former police chief for the city of Woodland Park, who also worked for the Colorado Department of Corrections, will serve as the interim chief for the Cripple Creek PD. Rulo, a well-known law enforcement figure in Woodland Park and Teller County, began his duties last Wednesday. According to Acting City Administrator Paul Harris, the council will review the agency’s long-term future following the interim period, and could name Rulo as its permanent chief. Initially, Harris stated that Rulo, who has served as an interim chief for several local agencies in the area, including Victor, will review the agency’s policies and procedures and will make recommendations. He did a similar overview for the town of Victor, playing a big role in the agreement to consolidate law enforcement duties between Victor and the Teller County Sheriff’s Department.
One big problem the Cripple Creek agency has encountered deals with an increasing level of officer turn-over. “We hope to reverse that trend,” said Harris. According to sources, the frequent turnover situation was one of the reasons that prompted the new changing of the guard. City council members, though, have declined to comment on the departure of Peterson, but expressed much optimism about Rulo’s new role with the city. “We have heard nothing but good things about Mike Rulo. He has an outstanding reputation,” said Mayor Bruce Brown. According to the mayor, Rulo was a close second in the selection process for a head CC police chief several years ago, following the retirement of long-time chief Gary Hamilton.
At the time, Peterson, who was second-in-command, was given the nod for the position. She was heavily recommended by Hamilton and many city employees. Her appointment as the head police chief followed a competitive process, with many top-rate applicants throwing their name into the hat. “We wish her the best,” said Brown. “April worked a lot of hours and gave it her best. She was a great officer. We are sorry it just didn’t work out for her as chief.”
Some residents, though, aren’t happy about the new change. The Mountain Jackpot has received a few e-mails and comments from residents, alleging the change was shaped by good ol’ boy politics and a law enforcement system that discriminates against women police chiefs. The town’s police chief situation could get discussed publicly during this Wednesday’s city council meeting.
The last few months have been rough for local law enforcement leaders. The head police chief for the town of Green Mountain Falls, Tim Bradley, resigned about two months ago following much political turmoil.