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Crimes in Shoshone Park challenge Ignacio Police

Crimes in Shoshone Park are hard to catch, IPD chief says

A resident who lives near Shoshone Park in downtown Ignacio complained to town trustees on Monday about drug deals taking place in the park.

The land is owned by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and the town of Ignacio leases it and runs it as the town's primary park.

Crimes taking place in the park are part of the "jurisdictional quagmire" between the town and tribe, responded Kirk Phillips, chief of Ignacio Police.

"We have no police jurisdiction in that park," he said.

He said he can step up patrols around the park, and also asked residents to call either his department or the Southern Ute Tribal Police if they see crimes taking place.

"It is getting bad in this town," said Trustee Tom Atencio of drug deals and usage.

"It's bad in every town," Phillips said. He said sometimes he hears about witnesses to a crime not calling his department because they don't want to bother the officers.

"That's our job," he said, noting that he would rather receive a call and have it turn out to be nothing rather than the other way around.

Also at the July monthly meeting, town board members approved a permit application by the Ignacio Chamber of Commerce to hold the group's second annual Green Chili Festival on Saturday, Sept. 8. The chamber wants to have a beer tent at the event and is applying for a liquor permit from both the tribe and town.

Town trustees said if the tribe doesn't want to grant permission to the chamber for the beer tent, the town will honor the tribe's decision. A public hearing for the town liquor permit is scheduled to be held during the board's Aug. 20 meeting.

The festival will be the same weekend as the Southern Ute Tribal Fair, said Sharon Craig, a volunteer for the chamber and trustee on the town board. The chamber hopes the event will be a positive addition to the weekend's activities, she said.

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