Aspen Police looking to fill 5 officer positions after turnover, retirements
Staffing, capital projects top 2022 budget talk with Aspen City Council
With four officers either gone or set to leave soon, the Aspen Police Department is facing a staffing shortage, an official said Monday.
In fact, from 3:15-7 a.m., just one Aspen police officer is on duty with no supervision because of the lack of officers, Assistant Police Chief Linda Consuegra told the Aspen City Council during its weekly work session.
“When we get three to five more officers, we can provide that coverage,” Consuegra said.
Officer Ian MacAyeal — a 25-year veteran of the department — resigned last week, following Officer Mark Anderson and Detective Danielle Madril who moved elsewhere in recent months for policing jobs, Consuegra said. Sgt. Terry Leitch is set to retire early next year.
“We’re now coming up on a lot of retirements,” Consuegra said. “We have a lot of people (who have been working for) 20-plus years.”
APD Assistant Chief Bill Linn and others interviewed three possible police officer candidates Monday, though none fit the right profile, Linn said.
“It’s always been difficult to find people who align with the type of community policing we do,” Consuegra said. “It would be great to get some local people who want to make a difference and keep our community safe.”
With the increase in mental health calls in recent years, the department is looking at officer candidates with a social services background, she said.
In addition to trying to fill the four empty or soon to be empty spots, Consuegra and Linn asked city council Monday for permission to hire a new full-time officer as well. That position — which pays $96,120 a year including benefits — did not faze the council.
Councilor Rachel Richards offered to provide more positions if they were needed.
“Are we already spreading you too thin?” Richards asked.
The department also asked for $110,000 worth of capital project funding, including $60,00 for an automated ticketing system, $32,000 for weapons replacement and $18,000 to replace a radar trailer. The council did not balk at those requests either.
The department’s plans to raise the fee for accident reports from $5 to $10 and the fee for certified VIN inspections from $25 to $30 also did not receive criticism.
APD has a $6 million budget and employs 28 officers, six community response officers and five support staff. Officers respond to roughly 17,000 calls for service per year.
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Rogue snowmobiler David Lesh was found guilty Friday of two federal petty offenses. Lesh was found guilty of riding a snowmobile illegally at a terrain park at Keystone Resort on April 24, 2020, and of undertaking an unauthorized commercial venture on national forestland.