Woodland Park Police Chief Axed?

Chief Miles DeYoung Placed on Paid Administrative Leave

Trevor Phipps

Turmoil within the city of Woodland Park’s leadership hit higher levels last Friday when it was announced that the municipality’s Police Chief Miles DeYoung got relieved of his duties indefinitely. Woodland Park City Manager Mike Lawson said that he made the decision last Thursday to suspend DeYoung until an investigation of “workplace misconduct” took place.

Little information was given as to exactly why his suspension occurred. Lawson did announce that Commander Ryan Holzwarth will serve as the interim police chief throughout the duration of the internal personnel investigation. At this point, city officials do not know how long this process will take.

Last Friday, Lawson said he was not going to issue a press release, but he spoke to several media outlets giving as much information as he could due to the matter being a city personnel issue. “I did make the decision to place Chief DeYoung on paid admin leave pending the results of the investigation,” the city manager said. “That decision is of course, always a tough one. There have been some allegations related to his conduct in the workplace.”

“There is nothing criminal in nature by any means. But it is just internal to the department, so we did place him on admin leave as happens from time to time with such investigations, and that’s all in accordance with city and police policy. In doing that, it allows us to do any investigation that needs to be done. So we are very limited in what I can share being as it is a personnel matter and it is an active investigation,” Lawson continued.

The city’s official stance is that the citizens will not be negatively affected by the sudden change in law enforcement leadership. “It’s just business as usual,” Lawson explained. “We have a lot of faith in our staff, and we know that they will be able to carry on and do their job in an excellent manner as they always do.”

Just before the announcement was made to suspend the police chief rumors circulated around town that DeYoung may have been guilty of misuse of taxpayer-funded vehicles. The unconfirmed allegations suggested that the police chief recently relocated to Florence, CO and that he was using a city owned and funded vehicle to make the hour and a half trip to and from the Woodland Park Police Department twice a day.

However, according to the city manager, DeYoung’s transportation to and from his $100K+ job is not an issue. “He does have a city vehicle and he is able to use that to commute to and from his house,” Lawson said. “As he needs to be in a variety of different places in a moment’s time. So it is not an unusual thing that he has that ability. I can’t confirm that that has any bearing on this investigation. Again, it is more related to general workplace conduct.”

Lawson added that based on the city’s ordinances, the only municipal employee that is required to live within the town’s limits is the city manager. And, of course, all city council members must prove that they live within the jurisdictions for over a year before they run for office.