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The public needs to know

Dear Editor:

On Wednesday I read the Basalt town attorney and Basalt Town Council’s explanation of why they will not publicly discuss the accusations that have led to Police Chief Roderick O’Connor having been placed on administrative leave five weeks ago. The town attorney, Tom Smith, has said Colorado law prohibits releasing this information in order to protect Roderick.

I have a suggestion. Let us honor both those who have made the complaint(s) and Roderick by making the complaint documents public and letting the people of Basalt engage in a conversation about what kind of police department they want to have. I know Roderick would welcome this. The current process is fraught with secrecy and has led to wild speculation about what the complaints are, how, and by whom. I, for one, have serious questions about the ability of the town’s staff and elected officials to effectively address an issue of this magnitude.

I’ve been a peace officer and a teacher of peace officers for 35 years. I have said for a long time that communities get exactly the kind of policing that they’re willing to put up with. So here’s my question for the people of Basalt: “What kind of police department do you want, and is this how you go about getting it?”

John Goodwin

Carbondale

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