Latest News – October 18
Leadville Community “Not Safe,” States DA Brown
By Kathy Bedell © Leadville Today
On October 16, Colorado’s 5th Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown held a “Law Enforcement Town Hall Meeting” in cooperation with the Leadville Police Department and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office at Lake County High School in Leadville.
“The reason for this meeting is to let us know how we are doing,” explained DA Brown in his opening comments of the meeting. The meeting gathered together about 30 people on a Monday night, most of them from the law enforcement community.
Brown opened the meeting with a power point presentation offering statistical information about crime in Lake County. Throughout his discussion, Brown reiterated his concern about local public safety.
“There is a problem here. We are not doing what we need to be doing in order to make our community safe to live,” Brown firmly stated. “Whether it’s a kid, a visitor or a long-time resident, we are not as safe of a community as we could be. We are not doing as well as other communities.”
In this video, DA Brown presents the crime data for Lake County as well as his solutions.
A majority of the DA Office’s case load deals with assault and theft, however readers might be particularly interested to hear how Lake County’s 2016 two homicides are being represented to the public by Brown: specifically, the murder of Jordan Gassman and John Martinez (still pending). Brown also included information regarding the welfare fraud case that recently cast a black eye on how the county is managing its business and employees.
The lead law enforcement agent for Colorado’s 5th Judicial District, Brown also noted that his office has recently turned up the heat on governmental misconduct, thanks in part to the state funneling money in to these types of investigations.
“My office puts a high priority in making sure that your interests are well-protected at the government level,” explained Brown. “Unfortunately over the last few years in Lake County we’ve had issues where public servants have not held up their standards and have actually been prosecuted and convicted of crimes.” Of course that applies to all public employees, however it is important to note that the net casts even wider to include the multitude of non-profits organizations the county has deeply ingrained itself with in recent years. For readers information, not one of the Lake County Commissioners has in attendance at Monday’s meeting.
In light of DA Brown’s comments regarding public safety, many in the room were surprised to learn that the Lake County School District choose to eliminate its Student Resource Officer position beginning this school year. While there was not a school representative present at the “Law Enforcement Town Hall Meeting,” Chief Glenny explains the program’s status in this next video.
For readers who may not be familiar with the program, it’s often been identified as one of the top priorities for taxpayers within the LCSD when it comes to student safety. The program has seen much success in recent years, allowing local law enforcement to make a positive connection with Leadville students, while staying plugged-in to law enforcement situations with Lake County youth. Leadville Police Chief Robert Glenny reports that while the school did not choose to re-institute the position, the LPD does its best to make sure the officers still have a presence in the schools. There has been no word from school officials about this decision on their website or social media platforms, leaving many parents in the dark that the program which was instituted for their child’s safety was been eliminated.
Salary and compensation packages for Leadville and Lake County certainly proved an enlightening conversation as Brown was joined by Sheriff Fenske and Chief Glenny regarding the disparaging gap in wages between our local men and women in uniform, and what other agencies, including the Colorado State Patrol offer for their officers.
“The bottom line is,” stated DA Brown, “unless we raise their pay, they are going to keep leaving. So residents have choices to make, are we going to continue to put money into recreation, instead of law enforcement?”
The wage-gap statement immediately hit home when Leadville Today directed a question to Leadville Police Chief Robert Glenny regarding reports that he has been interviewing for other positions and would be leaving his position at the LPD. Glenny’s response can be found in this exclusive LT video. The Leadville Police Chief first accepted the position in April 2016, after a lengthy national search which followed a rather embarrassing public fiasco with the former police chief, leading to multiple felony charges.
As the formal presentation closed, and the program opened to public comments and questions, the evening immediately took a more serious tone, as Leadville resident Santiago Martinez brought his concerns about his family’s safety to the conversation.
“My family has received death threats, and you are doing nothing about it,” stated Martinez in an emotionally controlled, but very impassioned plea to the DA. A self-described repeat offender, who has turned his life around, in this video the local husband and father of 5 children, describes his situation and attempts to get an answer to a simple question: who do I report YOU to for not doing your job?
For LT readers who are new to the Leadville community, charges of stalking are taken very seriously here, as many remember the tragic murder of Teacher Vonnie Flores by a stalker, which ultimately resulted in the passage of Vonnie’s Law, committed to protect victims, no matter their background, or past offenses.
Find out if Santiago Martinez is successful in getting his answers as he confronts DA Brown in this LT video exchange. Publishers note: this video does have content of a serious nature and may not be appropriate for all viewing audiences.
And finally, this last video deals with the ongoing situation at the Lake County jail and the discussion regarding the need for a new Lake County Justice Center. Since voters rejected the measure in 2016, where do things stand? Will local efforts bring the measure again to constituents in 2018? Find out as DA Brown and Sheriff Rod Fenske bring readers up to speed on what’s next?
That’s a wrap for the Leadville Today report on the “Law Enforcement Town Hall Meeting” held October 16, 2017. If you have concerns about crimes or law enforcement in Lake County, please contact the following representatives. Or if you’ve hit a road block there, contact Leadville Today at firstname.lastname@example.org
- District Attorney Bruce Brown, Lake County: 719-486-4170; email: BBrown@da5.us
- Lake County Sheriff Rodney Fenske: 719-486-1249 (Lake County Dispatch Center); email: email@example.com
- Leadville Police Chief Robert Glenny: 719-486-1365 (Leadville Police Department) firstname.lastname@example.org
Journalist Kathy Bedell owns The Great Pumpkin, A Media Company located in Leadville, Colorado which publishes LeadvilleToday.com and SaguacheToday.com.