Honorable mention: Loren Ryerson
December 26, 2006
Loren Ryerson ended 2005 in the news after a downtown police drug raid at two popular Aspen restaurants. Community debate over the raid and how it was conducted continued well into 2006.
Then in June, the Aspen Police Department was once again embroiled in controversy when Officer Melinda Calvano used an electronic Taser on a 63-year-old homeless woman who allegedly stole a sweater from behind the Thrift Shop. Some locals saw the incident as evidence of an unnecessarily aggressive department.
Ryerson stood by his officer, recommending that she receive a psychological evaluation to weigh her fitness for duty, but City Manager Steve Barwick overruled the chief and fired Calvano in July. Ryerson has said his office is re-evaluating its taser policy, but that has yet to take place. Ryerson made news again in November, when he called for an investigation into accusations made in a letter to the editor against a Pitkin County Sheriff’s deputy. When the letter proved to be a phony, “signed” by a nonexistent person, the calls for investigation faded into the background, though Ryerson stood his ground. Even after the sheriff’s office had cleared the accused officer, Ryerson continued to appeal for an investigation.
Things have been fairly quiet around the Police Department lately, although tension remains between the Aspen city cops and the county sheriff’s office.