The police department of Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, just upped and quit. If one of the 1,200 residents in the small town located in El Paso and Teller counties need to report a crime or something suspicious, at least for the time being, they can’t call up their local officials – they evidently are off duty, permanently, leaving residents with no cops but a lot of questions.
Reports local news affiliate Fox21 on April 25: “The town of Green Mountain Falls no longer has any police. The chief announced his resignation on Thursday, April 14, with the three other officers following his lead.”
Speculation surrounds the reason why Police Marshal Tim Bradley and his trio of part-time, volunteer reserve officers quit. Most sources are linking the walkout with the town’s newly elected mayor Jane Newberry, who was recently sworn into office.
Newberry blamed the police protest on transition over an “election year,” and sought to assure residents that they are safe.
“In an election year there’s always some people who choose to stay and some people who choose to go and I think that happens at every level of government,” said Jane Newberry, Mayor of Green Mountain Falls, according to the Washington Post. “[Bradley] is pursuing other opportunities as I understand and good luck to him but that’s not to say that we are without police coverage,” Newberry said, stating that the county sheriff’s office will be picking up the slack.
“They should absolutely feel safe,” Newberry said of her town’s residents. “I have every confidence in El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. I always have and there’s no reason anybody needs to worry. We are a small community and it’s one of our advantages is we all look out for each other.”
Sources however say Bradley and his men are upset over policies and plans that Newberry has already put into motion. The town has reportedly signed off on an $800,000 town hall project – when the population is only 700 in the fall and winter and 500 more in the spring and summer months. Newberry has also said that the town “cannot afford” a marshal’s office.
Local reports also say Newberry is spearheading the promotion of Public Works Director Robert McArthur into a newly created job as Town Manager, an action that is being challenged by a citizen’s referendum.
In a 2014 article, when Newberry was running for office, she spoke openly of shuttering the town marshal position. “We haven’t been able to afford the coverage (of full-time marshal’s office) for some time. We have to spend the town’s money the best way we can,” she said.
However, after the Colorado police force quit, Newberry said she had no idea where the “rumor” came from that her election was tied into the controversy. “I don’t know where the rumor came from because during the entire campaign we promised – and I meant it – we were going to swear, reappoint him and swear him in as the Marshal the same day I was sworn in,” Newberry said to KOAA.com.
She also is unhappy that Bradley is walking away with $12,000 given to him by the town board. “It’s a curious thing,” she said. “Part of it was vacation pay, part of it was sick pay and part of it was overtime pay. But if you’re salaried you don’t usually get that.”