Renewed interest in PD’s Gold Hill CAC

       With the reduction of manpower in the Colorado Springs Police Department, more citizens are worried about how that's affecting local law enforcement. That's the belief of Officer Bob Harris, crime-prevention officer for the Westside's Gold Hill Division, and for evidence he can point to the station's volunteer Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC), which has doubled in size over the past several months.
       “I think people are concerned about the service reductions,” he said in a recent interview. “We've had five people join the CAC since January. All of them told me that after 2C [a tax-increase referendum last fall] failed, they wanted to be involved. It's too bad it took that, but we had the lowest number of CAC members [among the city's four police divisions], and now we're one of the highest.”
       The Gold Hill CAC meets six times a year. The next meeting will be Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Gold Hill Substation, 955 W. Moreno Ave. It could be an especially informative meeting, Harris said, because by then, “we may know a little more about [the department's budget] direction for next year.”
       The current number of citizens on the Gold Hill CAC is 15. The maximum is 20. “We're getting close to the point where we may have to have a waiting list,” Harris said. “It's starting to be a vibrant and good group.”
       Facilitated by Harris and usually attended by Gold Hill Commander Tish Olszewski, CAC meetings provide a two-way forum: Citizens can find out how police are handling certain types of crime, and police can learn the main concerns residents have. “I get quite a bit out of it, hearing the police talk about their various problems,” said CAC President Jim Ruder, a retired Air Force officer and aerospace employee who has been part of the group for about 20 years. “I want to know what is happening and where the crime is in our area down here.”
       The only requirement to be on the CAC is to live in or have business interests in the Gold Hill Division. The boundaries go east to Union Boulevard, north to Fontanero Street, south to the Broadmoor and west to Manitou Springs.
       Police also run a background check on applicants. Ruder believes that's prudent. “We don't want any drug dealers listening in on what the Police Department has planned for them,” he chuckled.
       Anyone interested in serving on the CAC can call Officer Harris at 385-2117.

Westside Pioneer article