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Bayfield Marshal’s Office gets a name change

Town hopes ‘police department’ helps with recruitment
The Bayfield Marshal’s Office has been renamed Bayfield Police Department. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

In the world of Big Tech, name changes are growing in popularity: Google became Alphabet, Facebook became Meta, and Twitter became X.

In keeping with the times, the Bayfield Marshal’s Office has announced its own name change.

The municipal law enforcement agency in eastern La Plata County will now simply be called the Bayfield Police Department.

“The Town of Bayfield is getting ready for growth, both commercially and residentially,” said Bayfield Chief of Police Michael Hoguet, in an email to The Durango Herald. “With this in mind, I felt it was the time for rebranding to the Bayfield Police Department.”

“Marshal” can carry an old-timey connotation, like conjuring up scenes from “Gunsmoke,” the 1950s television show that depicted early settlement of the American West, Bayfield town manager Katie Sickles said. “Chief of police,” on the other hand, is more modern and more precisely portrays what the law enforcement agency in Bayfield does and represents, she said.

The Bayfield Marshal’s Office logo. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Statutorily, there is no difference between a marshal’s office and a police department. But the Town Board did have to pass a resolution in June approving the name change.

Hoguet hopes the name change helps the agency recruit officers. The department has had two open positions for more than a year. Now, instead of having to advertise for deputies, which is more closely associated with sheriff’s offices, the agency can advertise for police officers.

“When advertising nationally, prospective candidates will, majority of the time, search ‘police’ on job sites when wanting to pursue a job in law enforcement,” Hoguet explained.

Residents have been curious about the name change and whether it means anything different for their law enforcement agency, Sickles said. But town officials have been explaining there is no difference; it is simply a name change.

No one has seemed overly nostalgic about losing the Marshal’s Office moniker, she said.

“It’s just a point of curiosity,” she said.

Other municipalities have made similar name changes, she said.

The town plans to replace badges and uniforms to reflect the name change, and it is looking into replacing the marshal’s office sign at Town Hall. Vehicles will be updated only as they are replaced, she said.

“We're doing that,” she said, “but we also have to be cognizant of our budget.”


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