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LPD and District Attorney Vogel Discuss Law Enforcement at Council Work Session

Municipal Offices in Lamar

Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller and District Attorney, Josh Vogel, discussed their working relationship and the latest crime statistics for the Lamar City Council during a November 6th work session. The council also discussed a proposal for an expanded Lamar Animal Shelter.

Chief Miller provided crime related statistics for the 3rd quarter of the year, as well as year to date figures up to the end of October for each year represented. The main categories were assault, burglary, controlled substances, theft, sex assault, criminal mischief, DUI, robbery, traffic accident and trespass.

Year

2014 2015 2016

2017

2017 Projected

Assault 35 66 62 48

58

Burglary

63 104 91 46 55
Cont. Substnc 62 134 115 91

109

Theft

372 381 345 171 205
Sex Assault 10 8 14 19

23

Crim Misc

150 133 135 102 122
DUI 28 77 69 26

31

Traffic Accident

248 237 253 215 258
Trespass 83 152 132 86

103

Chief Miller told the council the numbers were on a downward trend with the exception of sex assaults. District Attorney Vogel added statistics on a state level, indicating that felony filings have gone up 46% from 2012-2017, while they decreased 20% in the earlier five year period. He noted that the figures for felony filings in Prowers County are not increasing as of this fall. However between June 30, 2012 to 2016, local filings increased by 40%.

Vogel compared felony activity as being considerably broader in metro cities in Colorado compared to smaller populated areas such as Prowers County. “We’re able to keep an eye on those people,” he explained, adding that such individuals are known to the Lamar Police Department who are able to keep their activities under surveillance or are aware of their presence in the community. He added that his office has begun to provide the Lamar Police Department with feedback on the way their cases have been resolved in the courtroom so as to help fine tune their techniques on making arrests.

A discussion followed on the October 26, 2017 incident at the Lamar High School, regarding the rumor and investigation of a planned potential shooting by a student. One of the problems with incidents of this nature is being able to separate fact from fiction, especially with many assumptions viewed and shared on social media sites. Chief Miller stated that he believed the rumors and mis-information would be diminished more quickly by not adding extra information which could have led to more misperceptions throughout the community. He added that if there was any immediate threat to the safety of students or school staff, the school would have been cleared. The letter to parents from Principal Medina stated that one student was removed from school into their parent’s care and that additional action by the school and local law enforcement is being weighed.

The other agenda item concerned the closing of the Last Chance Animal Sanctuary which is located at the rear of the Lamar Port of Entry, adjacent to Tri County Ford. The Sanctuary has closed and has been offered to the City of Lamar by the Stanley Trust at no charge. City Administrator John Sutherland posed several scenarios to the council if it decided to accept and develop the property. “This has ten kennels while the city now has 14 out by the cemetery,” he explained, “so we would have to build an addition, and I think a westward expansion would be the way to go.” The Last Chance facility offers amenities not found at the Lamar Shelter such as office space, a kitchen and a reception area. However, there is no storage space, which was pointed out by Stephanie Strube, the manager of the Lamar Shelter.

Sutherland said he’d like to double the 40 by 50 foot facility and make the additions that would enable the Lamar Shelter to operate at that site off Highway 50, while offering additional space to house dogs, perhaps up to 20 kennels. Sutherland said some grant funding could become available from the Animal Assistance Foundation and the Stanley Trust. He estimated the development costs at around $150,000. The council in general indicated that the project should be investigated for additional benefits and cost options.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEducationFeaturedLaw EnforcementPolice ReportSchoolYouth

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