Westside cops get a ‘cubbyhole’ in OCC
Sgt. Scott Wisler made that point clear in an interview just before the move was made in late April. “All it will be is a place for my two Westside officers to go in, make reports and make a few calls,” he clarified. “It'll be a little work cubbyhole for them.”
One of those officers, Mark Sandoval, elaborated that “there will be no sign, no lockup, no phones, no computers.” About the only police items being stored there are their patrol bicycles.
However, it's also true that the officers are in the building at times, in addition to what they're already doing on the Westside - including walking a beat and using the bicycles in warmer weather.
Sandoval said these efforts build a familiarity with the people in the area, from those who are community-spirited to those who are less so.
The one-story building, at 111 S. 25th St., consists of a garage and a one-desk office. It has long been the headquarters for the SIMD's one full-time maintenance worker.
Sandoval and his officer partner, Jeremy Winn, may not have use of a landline phone when they're in the building, but they do wear police radios on their uniforms that keep them apprised of any breaking crimes.
The pair comprise what's known as DART West. DART, which is under Wisler's command, is an acronymn for Downtown Area Response Team. The DART West element has existed since the summer of 2015.
Working alone or together on weekdays, Sandoval and Winn are assigned to Old Colorado City and the area around it (roughly along the avenue corridor between 21st Street and the western boundary, as well as north to Uintah and south to Highway 24).
A separate set of DART officers is assigned to the downtown area.
As needed, the Westside is also served by city-wide police officers, along with the Homeless Outreach (HOT) Team.
Having DART West officers in the maintenance office, even if it's just once in a while, is seen as a plus in Old Colorado City.
“It will be a win-win,” remarked Jon Carlson, the City Parks administrator who works with the SIMD committee, shortly. “Their squad car will be parked in front. And if something happens, they can mosey on over.”
When asked about the arrangement, Julie Fabrizio, president of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group, responded with the one word: “Awesome.” Merchants like having police closer to their businesses, she said.
A meeting of the April SIMD committee meeting revealed an enthusiastic consensus in favor. John Edwards, a long-time OCC property owner and committee member, described the increased police visibility resulting from the office-sharing as “preventive medicine.”
Funded by a special tax on Old Colorado City property owners, the SIMD was formed in 1979. Consisting of property owners, the committee mainly advises the city on capital improvements in the district.
Westside Pioneer article