Woodland Park Council Picks New Interim Police Chief

Trevor Phipps

The Woodland Park City Council has given the nod to Stephen Hasler as WP’s new interim police chief.

However, shortly after Hasler was confirmed, some concerns were raised from the community, based on past allegations. But City Manager Michael Lawson stands firmly behind the council’s decision.


The appointment of Hasler follows the resignation of   former Chief Miles DeYoung, after a third party investigation found that he ran the department with fear and sexually discriminated against women.

A report from the Denver Post written in 2012 brings up similar allegations regarding Hasler’s past


However, Woodland Park City Manager issued a press release last week, directly addressing the 2012 article. “The article details accusations from a handful of employees of the Lone Tree Police Department against the department itself,” Lawson said. “The publisher of the article never published a follow-up, and further research shows that statements made in the article were never substantiated.”


Lawson said that the city did their own research regarding the matter, and since 2012, more information has come up that proves the allegations wrong. “We have conducted thorough research of our own, and can confirm that allegations made in the article are simply untrue,” Lawson explained.


Hasler has more than 40 years in law enforcement experience and started his career in England. When he moved to the United States, his first job was a patrol officer in Manitou Springs.


Since then, Hasler has worked for several departments within the state and has been a chief in Colorado for 24 years with three different departments. His first job as a police chief was for the city of Erie, Colorado, a position he held for 10 years.


In 2004, Hasler left his position in Erie to become the police chief of Lone Tree, which featured a brand new police department at the time. After Hasler was fired by the city manager for undisclosed reasons in 2012, he became the chief of police for Elizabeth.


Hasler has also previously served as the president of the Colorado Association of Chief of Police (CACP). According to the city manager, Hasler came highly recommended from the organization for his leadership skills.

Questions From the Council


During the council meeting, after Hasler introduced himself, the council had a chance to question him. Councilman Rusty Neal expressed his concern with the current state of the WP police department and asked him how he would go about fixing it.


Hasler said that when he first started his police chief career in Erie that there was “turmoil.” He then built the Lone Tree police department from scratch before dealing with more turmoil, when he started as chief in Elizabeth. Therefore, through his experience, he believes that he can help the department by fixing it from the inside and rebuilding trust.



Mayor Pro Tem Hilary LaBarre then asked him how he goes about building trust as a leader. “When you gain respect, it shouldn’t be through fear,” Hasler replied. “It is by leading by example. If officers don’t feel comfortable in the police station, when they come outside, they are going to be frightened to make the right decisions. They will be second-guessing themselves and when they second-guess themselves that’s what gets them in trouble.”


Lawson said that the city is still planning on going through a nationwide recruitment process to fill the permanent chief. Lawson said that the process should take four to six months and that they plan to have a permanent police chief by the end of the year.