Woodland Park Council Awards Police Department and Community For Heroic Actions

Leaders Set Public Hearing  For Extension of STR Moratorium; Okays Temporary Cell Tower

Trevor Phipps

The Woodland Park City Council last week awarded the local police department and members of the community for their heroic efforts in responding to incidents that could have taken a tragic toll.

During this round of awards, three Woodland Park Police officers and one citizen were given accommodations for their efforts in saving lives.

The awards highlighted a March 16 marathon session that extended for close to four hours. The meeting also touching on the subjects of continuing a STR (short-term rental) moratorium, dealing with plans for a temporary cell tower and handling a council resignation.

Saving Lives By Citizen and Police Actions

Woodland Park Police Chief Chris Deisler took the floor during the presentations section of the meeting and told the stories of the local heroes of why they were being honored. Deisler first brought up the story of Samantha Trattner, and how she apprehended a four-year-old boy after he had escaped from his caregiver’s home.


According to Deisler, the event started on a cold day in January when the Price family dropped off their children at their caregiver’s house and then headed to work. Later that afternoon, the family got a phone call after the police were notified that their child  had left the caregiver’s home and nobody knew where he went.


“That kind of call will automatically set off every bell in the police department with an ‘all hands on deck’ kind of response,” the chief explained. “At least three or four of us that day were actually out looking for him and we come to find out that this young man is very fast, very fast. I’m not even joking.”


Deisler went on to explain that the day they were looking for the child,  it was a cold January day in the 40s with snow covering the ground. The chief said that the boy had taken off north bound on the trail that runs next to Hwy. 67 with no shoes on and no jacket.


“After we looked quite a bit we received probably the best phone call that we could have ever got,” Deisler said. “We had a young lady who had found this young man and was holding onto him the best she could for us. She had been running behind him trying to get him to stop, and of course he wouldn’t. And I think they made their way from Valley View all the way to Tamarac. So, you can get an idea of the distance they travelled. This young lady was instrumental in getting these folks reunited.”


Deisler then presented Trattner with a plaque and Mayor Hilary LaBarre gave her a special Mayor’s coin. The Price family also presented Trattner with a gift for her efforts in tracking down their young son.


The next awards the chief presented were given to three police officers who were thrown into a situation where they had to perform lifesaving measures.

“Cops got into cop work because we didn’t want to do medic work, let’s just be honest,” Deisler jokingly said. “There is a running joke about the cops and the medics that we try to not beat the medics to the calls because cops just don’t like getting dirty with medical stuff. Of course, that’s a joke because most of the time we are on medical calls before they are because we are out on the road a lot.”


Deisler brought up a day in late December during which  police officers were dispatched to a call in the City Market parking lot. The call said that an unresponsive driver had crashed into another driver and the vehicle had driven up onto an obstacle.


When Corporal Courtney Wadham and Officers Dominic Madronio and Patrick Vigil arrived at the scene, the driver of one of the cars was still unresponsive.

“The officers quickly assessed that situation and they had to force entry into the vehicle and then remove her from the vehicle,” the police chief continued. “Then the combination of the three of them started using CPR measures and the use of an AED to try to revive her. Anyone who has had to do CPR before knows that it is very hard to do and they did it for seven minutes. Which in cop talk is an eternity because we are waiting for someone who can do it better than us to get there.”


When the medics showed up, they were able to conduct further lifesaving measures and revive the unresponsive driver. The driver is alive and well, but she was unable to attend the meeting.


Council addresses STR Moratorium and Cell Tower Concerns


Also on the agenda was an item on initial posting for a measure to extend the moratorium on business licenses for short-term rental properties until December 31, 2023.

The council voted unanimously to set  the issue of extending the moratorium to a public hearing, scheduled for the next council meeting.

It is almost a given that the council will extend this moratorium, considering the fact that a citizens’ referendum filed against a previous decision to okay STRs in residential areas had been approved.  Strong opposition has been mounting against a possible invasion of STRs in local neighborhoods. The council recently had a workshop on this touchy subject, with some leaders seeking to send the issue back to the planning commission for review.  Much debate still exists on what exact action leaders should take on the  STR controversy.

STR units and vacation homes aren’t the only touchy subject the council grappled with last week.

After a debate and rounds of questions that lasted for more than an hour, the council voted unanimously to allow Verizon wireless to install a temporary cell phone tower in the city owned parking lot near the Woodland Park Senior Center. The tower is meant to take some traffic away from the other cell tower in the area during the busy summer season.

Recently, the topic of certain cell towers in Woodland Park commanded top attention, with concerns about their impact on health.

Council resignation

At the end of the meeting, it was also announced that Councilman David Ott had resigned from his position due to relocating to Texas with his family.

The council agreed that they would rather appoint someone as opposed to going through an application process. During the next meeting, the council will discuss possible candidates to appoint to the empty seat.