Sheriff’s Office deputies settling in at Minturn
By the numbers
1,916: Calls for service within Minturn.
48: Arrests in town (44 misdemeanors; four felonies)
315: Traffic stops (44 citations)
Source: Eagle County Sheriff’s Office
MINTURN — Eagle County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Phillip Cusick was named the primary officer for the town of Minturn in May. Since then, Cusick and the Sheriff’s Office have been busy.
From revising the school bus stops and routes to updating outdated town information to keeping the registered sex offender program running, the Sheriff’s Office is leaving its mark in Minturn.
“We want to make sure we have some good, strong relationships with law enforcement in town,” said Earle Bidez, of the Minturn Town Council, “and I think that’s been improving a lot in the last year.”
Cusick presented a report to the Town Council on Jan. 6, displaying the work he and Deputy Josiah Hart, along with the rest of the Sheriff’s Office, have done in less than a year.
A Strong start
Since May, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office deputies have, among other things:
• Created and implemented new citations for the town, which reduce wasted man hours and work for the court clerk.
• Assisted with old Minturn Police Department cases that were stuck in the court system, obtaining $600 from fines nearly seven years old.
• Opened an informal communications forum with its Neighborhood Information Network.
• Worked closely with Public Works to discuss streets throughout town.
• Updated contact information for 110 businesses in town, some of which have been closed for four years, which will result in faster response times for all emergency personnel.
• Established a working relationship with the U.S. Forest Service.
• Cleaned up campsites by the river and cleaned up illegal dumping sites at Two Elk trailhead, also beginning an investigation into the illegal dumping of waste.
“Nothing of it was major,” Cusick said. “It was just things that needed to be done. But, if you’re one of the persons that benefited, then it’s major.”
Patrolling the town of Minturn is fairly new to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, and assigning primary officers to the town has been a large step in building community relations.
It took a while to get staffed up, Bidez said, but “as soon as that happened, everything started to come into place. We’re getting the coverage we want. Things have calmed down and I think we have a good working relationship with them.”
Sage Pierson is the owner of Sticky Fingers in Minturn, and she said she looks forward to seeing an increased law enforcement presence around town.
“They were just in here this morning drinking their coffee,” Pierson said. “It’s fun to just touch base with them every morning.”
After hearing two reports of theft from vendors at the Minturn Market, the Sheriff’s Office put together a safety pamphlet. Some vendors said they actually set their booths up differently after seeing the document.
Cusick and the Sheriff’s Office also put a focus on improving traffic safety around town. In conjunction with the Colorado Department of Transportation and Eagle County Schools, a pull-off area was put on U.S. Highway 24 near Tigiwon for school buses. This has allowed for traffic jams, an average of 25 cars each morning, to dissipate and reduces the number of traffic stops in the morning.
Cusick is building relationships with other entities that benefited the the town. Minturn will save about $1,200 per year after an agreement was reached with Colorado Department of Transportation and Public Works on road sign replacement on Highway 24.
The old Minturn Police Department Dodge Charger was also sold by the Sheriff’s Office for $3,500 to a small police department in Wyoming. Recouping money from other Minturn Police Department equipment has yielded another $800.
At the beginning of 2015, a shooting occurred in Minturn, and the Sheriff’s Office contributed 400 man hours investigating. The case is still active.
Cusick said he’s in the process of rewriting about four chapters of municipal code for the town, which has a lot of outdated information. He said he’s looking at other towns and finding the codes most likely to succeed in Minturn.
“It’s been going really well,” Cusick said. “There’s a lot of positive feedback from the town and the residents.”
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and email@example.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.