MINTURN — Minturn will save more than $100,000 a year through a deal with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office to provide police protection.
The Sheriff’s Office has been patrolling Minturn since January, when Minturn Police Chief Brad Lamb resigned. This four-year agreement makes it official.
“The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office is excited for the opportunity to provide law enforcement services to the citizens of Minturn,” said Mike McWilliam, Eagle County undersheriff.
Minturn had budgeted $422,278 per year for its police department. Minturn will pay the Sheriff’s Office $315,000 a year.
It breaks out like this:
• $200,000: Salaries, benefits, training, equipment for two deputies.
• $45,000: Lease, fuel and maintenance of two vehicles.
• $25,000: Dispatch and radio services.
• $45,000: Administration, detectives, supervision, plus extra deputies and vehicles on call.
The Sheriff’s Office will hire two more deputies and buy two more patrol vehicles. They’ll actively patrol 10 hours a day and be on call the other 14 hours. The response times will be what they are now.
The Sheriff’s Office will have an office in the Minturn Town Hall, as well as its substation in Eagle-Vail, just a few miles down the road from Minturn.
McWilliam said the best way to contact a deputy is by calling the Vail Public Safety Communications Center at 970-479-2201.
Minturn’s town council has been kicking the idea around for months.
During some of those initial discussions, Town Council member Earle Bidez voiced the opinion of many Town Council members when he pointed out that while Minturn has always had its own police force, the town was consistently been losing officers to other police agencies around the county.
“From a business angle, this makes perfect sense,” Bidez said during those earlier discussions.
The Minturn Town Council approved the package with the Sheriff’s Office in their July 16 meeting. The county commissioners signed the deal Tuesday.
The Sheriff’s Office officially took over Minturn’s law enforcement on Thursday. The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office had been supplementing Minturn’s police efforts since Lamb’s resignation.
Minturn’s other option was to hire more officers and maintain its own police force.
Minturn Police Chief Brad Lamb resigned Jan. 21, leaving the town with one police officer.
Gypsum has had a similar deal with the Sheriff’s Office for police protection for years. Gypsum will pay $750,000 this year, up from $675,000 last year.
For that, Gypsum gets school resource officers and at least two deputies dedicated to the town.
The Sheriff’s Office covers salaries and benefits; Gypsum supplies the vehicles and the equipment that goes in them.
Gypsum officials say it’s a good deal for their town, and the numbers appear to bear them out.
Eagle budgeted $1,363,462 for its police department this year. Eagle spent $1,317,000 in 2013, and $1,315,000 in 2012.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.