Connect with us

When the chief of police says his department cannot respond

Thoughts on Home

When the chief of police says his department cannot respond

The quote was buried in a local TV news story, and you would have missed if you didn’t read carefully. Pueblo’s Police Chief Luis Velez admitted the department had reached its breaking point in responding to calls after two officers resigned.

Chief Velez said to KRDO on March 2, “We’re at a point where we cannot keep our calls for service and stay on top of them.”

While the Pueblo police staffing issue isn’t new, the chief’s comment that the department has reached its breaking point is frighteningly blunt.

This is the third time and the third law enforcement official to call Pueblo’s police at a breaking point. District Attorney Jeff Chostner, on February 29, told the Pueblo Chieftain, “We’ve reached a breaking point in this community.”

Deputy Police Chief Troy Davenport said on March 15, he’s never seen a point like this in his 15-year career.

Velez’s quote is more than just budget shortfalls numbers and the staffing issues that follow. The highest-ranking police officer in Pueblo saying the department cannot respond to the number of calls it receives — is a public security crisis.

PULP reached out to the Pueblo Police Department for clarification on Velez’s statement but did not receive a response.

What changed for Pueblo, was the February murder of Devin Clark at the Iron Horse Bar on Main Street.

Thirteen murders, four of them unsolved, in 2015 pushed the dialogue on gangs and helped advance the tax debate in early 2016. But the death of Clark, a popular Puebloan from a family with deep connections to the community, has changed even the tone of law enforcement.

I have never seen a point in recent memory where officials have offered such a brutal assessment of their departments.

Pueblo is entering a new state of public safety. Officials have given the standard response they are doing their best to manage the lack or resources and public security but their words remain about the state of Pueblo’s police.

Currently, the department is staffed at roughly between 80–85% depending on media outlet reports.

On Monday, March 21, Pueblo will enter another tax debate whether to tax residents to pay for more cops on the street. Pueblo’s City Council has been reluctant to adopt Chostner’s plan. Using a half-cent tax to pay for 30 to 50 more officers and raising roughly $7.5 million wouldn’t see an impact until late 2017 or well into 2018.

While council members and the district attorney debate a tax, what is undebatable are the three top law enforcement officials going public that the lack of resources at 200 South Main Street is breaking the department and threatening public security.

It should be the breaking point for the community because this is now a full blown crisis.


Also published on Medium.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Publisher of PULP.

2 Comments
  • Drea

    Yet they have the time and resources for speed traps.

  • Wow. This explains a lot. As an outsider (former County Enforcement Park Ranger in WI) with 2 years here, and as I am about to leave for another ranch job, and as a former Municipal employee, I am very well aware of the blase’ attitude of many managers and workers. But Pueblo can’t be called out alone, it’s a national trend.

    Now that the days of working your way up through work experience have been replaced by a “Professional Class” of managers, one will see a reduction of professionalism in this, as they now call it, the new Public Service “Industry”. I was even told by one professional manager that public service and it’s workforce and consulting has been and is being “Leveraged”. Not sure what that means…

    Among the workers, or in my case, young park employees (again, in WI, not here) were very self entitled due to their personal connections to County Leadership. An official violation of policy, and rampant.

    Many of the new folks training was pathetic. A militant force first concept (this is what they were taught in Tech School, I was told) along with the “Power Base” themed/theory method of Law Enforcement as the basis of their training… not good. The training itself has become an industry with self appointed heroes and experts teaching the best methods they have developed through visualization.

    I got my training in the US Army’s 75th.

    I still feel though that I have yet to meet a Pueblo, or even any SoCo public employee or officer that I haven’t liked, personally. Most likely the local culture, and it’s great.

    Also, since Pueblo has ID’d and is calling out the Problem, there is a chance they will be far ahead of the rest of the nation as they discover it’s not just a local problem.

    Good luck, and Good Hunting …

    RLTW!

More in Thoughts on Home

Advertisement

Events Calendar

« May 2017 » loading...
S M T W T F S
30
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3

Top Stories

To Top