Basalt police chief says he’ll resign within a year
BASALT – Basalt Police Chief Keith Ikeda has informed the town government he plans to move on. He’s just not sure when.
“I haven’t reached a firm date,” Ikeda said. “That’s in discussion.”
He said he could remain on the job for as long as one year. Ikeda has been Basalt’s top cop since June 2001. He is a homeowner in Basalt and a regular skier on Aspen Mountain. He said he will leave under extremely good terms. He gets along well with council members, as he did with past boards, and he has worked well with the three town managers during his tenure. He said that he simply wants to try something new after more than eight years on the job.
“For me, it’s doing something different,” Ikeda said. “I’d like to find another challenging opportunity.”
Ikeda has his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Washington and his master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado. He moonlights as a consultant on organizational development and police training.
“It’s an opportunity for me and an opportunity for the department,” Ikeda said. “I’m leaving while I’m on top. The department’s doing really well.”
Ikeda took over for Jim Stryker as Basalt transformed from a sleepy little burg to a busier small town. Under his leadership, the department has embraced the “community policing” model of regularly mixing with the public and enlisting residents to get involved in resolving issues. While he has his critics like any law enforcement officer, Ikeda is widely known and respected in Basalt. The department has become much more diverse under his guidance, with female and Latino officers.
There have been a few prickly issues. The department was criticized for not making a quick arrest of two Latino suspects for firing several rounds from a semi-automatic weapon into the front window of the 7-Eleven store in June 2007. Police have also been criticized by at least a small segment of the midvalley population for making too many sweeps through bars on weekend nights and intimidating patrons.
Ikeda is a familiar face in Roaring Fork Valley law enforcement. He was a deputy with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office from 1977 to 1984, then went to the Aspen Police Department until 1986 before returning to the sheriff’s office for a year. He moved to the Seattle area and worked in law enforcement from 1989 to 1994, then returned to the Aspen Police Department until 2001.
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