Greg Knott sworn in as Basalt police chief
Greg Knott became the interim police chief of Basalt when the town was facing a tough time.
Former Police Chief Rodderick O’Connor and the town parted ways in October for reasons that weren’t immediately clear. It was eventually learned that there was friction between O’Connor and several members of his department. O’Connor officially resigned.
Knott took the reins of the department when it was in turmoil and many town residents were upset with O’Connor’s departure. He won accolades from town officials for his handling of the situation. Knott applied to become the permanent police chief and was selected from a strong field. Knott makes the switch from Carbondale, where he worked with the Police Department for 19 years. He was sworn into office Tuesday night. The Aspen Times posed a handful of questions to the new police chief through an email interview.
The Aspen Times: You’ve had a long career with the Police Department in Carbondale. What interested you in the top post in Basalt?
Greg Knott: In Carbondale, I was the “second in command” for several years. The police chief position in Basalt was a position that I have always had great interest in and felt I would be a good fit for the department and the town. I have previously worked with Jim Stryker, Keith Ikeda and Roderick O’Connor and believe my philosophy and style of policing complement the direction each of these past chiefs have fostered in the department. I am simply building on the foundation they put in place.
AT: What do you like about police work, and why do you think you are good at it?
Knott: I enjoy helping people. I’ve had great mentors over my career, and they have taught me that you cannot forget the importance of helping people and building relationships. I look for police officers that have a desire to help people and help the community. Whether you are assisting victims of crimes, individuals who are facing difficult life situations, visitors who are new to the area or addressing larger community issues, police officers must make their situation a priority and attempt to find positive resolutions.
AT: There was some turmoil last year with the departure of Roderick O’Connor as police chief. How do you restore the morale in the department and build trust with a segment of the community that was disappointed with O’Connor’s departure?
Knott: Both morale and trust have to be improved at the same time. I can’t change what happened, but I can work with the community and our officers to make this a better place to live, work and play. That’s my goal. By focusing on the future rather than the past, I believe we have begun to make positive change in the department and build trust throughout town. Officers are excited by the new challenges that face them, and I have heard positive feedback from individuals and businesses in the town. Building trust is something we must strive to do every day, and I will work to do just that.
AT: What will be the characteristics of the Police Department under your guidance?
Knott: Integrity, professionalism and compassion will be the culture of the Basalt Police Department and hopefully a culture we can extend into the community.
AT: Lay people always hear about community policing. What is it, and how do you see it applied in Basalt?
Knott: Community policing has been a long-standing practice that’s been used extensively throughout the town of Basalt and within the Police Department. The philosophy of community policing forges a relationship between the citizens and the police. These principles and practices will continue to be utilized by building upon community partnerships to collaboratively identify problems, examine all possible perspectives and discover solutions.
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