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Bayfield not exempt from city law enforcement issues

Domestic calls have increased, marshal says
Joe McIntyre

Bayfield deputies see the town's less idyllic side, Marshal Joe McIntyre said in a presentation to town trustees on May 6.

He played a recording of radio exchanges on a call for a drunk man with guns threatening suicide. Then deputies were advised by the dispatcher that the man wanted to kill himself with a sword; then that he was leaving the house; then that he was still in the house and didn't have "a weapon in hand at this time"; then that he had a shotgun.

McIntyre said he found himself about 10 feet away from the man staring into the shotgun. He said it was a situation where he would have been legally justified in using lethal force, but the incident ended with no shots fired.

He showed a picture of the weapons seized in that incident - two assault rifles, two shotguns, three handguns, and around 3,000 rounds of ammo.

"This is the reality of what we deal with," McIntyre said. "People think it doesn't happen here, but it does."

It's not just local residents. In 2012, the marshal's office arrested serial rapist William Costello, who showed up here from the Front Range. "We have bad guys here. Stuff does happen here," McIntyre said.

One local deputy is a member of the Southwest Drug Task Force, which has seized almost 8,000 pounds of methamphetamine, not even counting a regional drug bust earlier this year, he said.

Person crimes have been increasing, he said, especially domestic violence or family disturbances, also harassment. "Sex crimes and assaults are a lot lower, but we do deal with them."

Domestic violence and family disturbance calls are the most dangerous ones deputies face, he said. He attributed some of those incidents to the economy, "people losing their job, maintaining a roof over their head. We try to offer services they may not have known about."

In the property crimes category, McIntyre said thefts are down since 2010. Criminal mischief reports, mainly graffiti, spiked in 2012.

In 2013, calls peaked between 8 p.m. and 2 or 3 a.m. "Those aren't citizen assists or VINs (vehicle identification number checks)," he said.

The marshal's office had around 2,600 calls in 2010. That jumped to 4,500 calls in 2012 and just under 5,000 calls in 2013, McIntyre said.

The department budget has increased similarly - from $526,123 in 2010 to $709,000 this year. Most of that is for personnel. The drug investigator is paid through the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program.

One deputy started as a resource officer in Bayfield schools in January, funded by a federal grant.

School officials sometimes do not report student incidents to law enforcement that should be reported, he said. "We'd hear about them two or three weeks after the fact. With the SRO (school resource officer,) we thought we'd see an increase of dealing with juveniles. We found there are underlying issues with the juveniles getting them down the wrong path. We're working with Youth Services to do diversion, get them services and help instead of coming in and hammering them."

He continued, "One of our main goals (with the SRO) is security for the schools, but also education on things like date violence or sexting."

With the prospect of a lot of school staff turnover this summer, the marshal will instruct staff on mandatory reporting requirements and on emergency response procedures. The Safe 2 Tell program will be promoted to staff and students.

The department is now at full staffing, McIntyre said. Extra patrols and security checks have increased, and calls for actual crimes have gone down.

"Before 2010, the bad guys knew when BMO went home. Now we are close to 24/7 every day" and deputies are a lot more visible, McIntyre said. The number of cases resolved also has increased substantially since 2010, he said.

McIntyre showed a picture of deputies training in the high school, a simulated "active shooter" situation.

He said marshal's deputies are getting a lot more training now than a few years ago. "A lot of departments struggle with training. It can be the biggest liability issue," he said. Training is not just for new deputies. It needs to be ongoing to maintain skills.

The office has relied on other agencies for training, but now is able to do a lot more of its own training, McIntyre said. In 2010, each deputy got 35 to 40 hours of training for the year. In 2013, it was 70 to 80 hours.

Radio communications are an ongoing struggle, he said.

"We've been trying for two years to get the Grassy Mountain (the ridge north of Forest Lakes) transmitter upgraded." It was originally installed using solar power that wasn't adequate for the job.

"We got a $30,000 Homeland Security grant, but those fixes didn't work. In the last six to seven months, LPEA offered to run power up there. Now we have to upgrade equipment. That will cost another $200,000 to $300,000. We're asking the county for money, battling the state through (State Sen.) Ellen Roberts. We're like the red-headed step-child of the state, the last ones to get anything."

He said he has worked to increase deputy pride, because law enforcement is "the best job in the world." New deputies now have a formal swearing in ceremony at a town board meeting, with the deputy's family invited to attend and pin the badge on him or her.

"I tell deputies to be loyal to the badge and the profession" rather than to their boss, he said. He wants prospective deputies to want to work for his office because of the professionalism.

"I think we are headed in a good direction of becoming that department of excellence" that the marshal's office mission statement includes. He has a goal to get the office certified by the Colorado Association of Police Chiefs, which he said is very hard to obtain. Around 30 to 35 agencies around the state have that certification, he said.