Minturn down an officer again |

Minturn down an officer again

Dustin Racioppi

MINTURN, Colorado ” The Minturn Police Department said goodbye to one of its officers Sunday, and the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office will welcome him today.

Officer Geoff Heil, who was one month shy of four years on the Minturn force, left to become a deputy with the Sheriff’s Office.

Heil cited personal reasons in making the transition from officer to deputy. He lives closer to the Sheriff’s Office and said the move will benefit his wife and two sons.

“It’s bittersweet,” Heil said. “I like being here, but it’s just one of those things where I’ve got to do what’s right for my family.”

Minturn Police Chief Lorenzo Martinez said he’s sad to see Heil go but also understands he needs to make the best-fitting career decisions.

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“Not only is he a good employee, but he’s a good friend, a good family man,” Martinez said. “We’re going to miss Geoff. He’s got to take care of his family. That always comes first.”

The departure leaves the already understaffed department short an officer. Though the town has four officers budgeted, the department consists only of Martinez and Officer Ryan Ware, who recently started.

But the void in Minturn may be brief. Martinez and interim town manager Gary Suiter have narrowed a pool of candidates down to one, and they hope that one will join Minturn’s squad. Martinez thinks there’s a good chance that will happen considering the candidate, who has worked in a Chicago suburb the past 11 years, has a fiancee in Minturn and is focused on settling in a quiet town.

“He got to see all that heavy-duty cop stuff,” Martinez said. “Now he wants to move on and settle down and raise a family.”

Suiter, who has the hiring authority for the officer, said out of all the candidates, he seemed to be the best fit. The town has high standards, Suiter said, and submits applicants to a series of tests and evaluations before they’re offered a position.

“That usually flushes out the candidates that are less than desirable,” Suiter said. “I know this is a quality candidate, and I hope we can land him.”

And if they do, it means they can continue to try and fill that fourth gap in the department, which rarely is filled. The town pays the Sheriff’s Office for deputies to provide backup when it’s needed.

So maybe Sunday wasn’t the last Minturn has seen of Heil.

“That’ll be nice,” he said.

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