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New DA appoints council

Naomi Havlen
District attorney-elect Colleen Truden speaks to a reporter. Post Independent photo/Kara K. Pearson.
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The next district attorney of the 9th Judicial District announced the members of an advisory council at the Garfield County Courthouse on Friday.The council is something that Colleen Truden said she was interested in forming during her election campaign. She succeeds District Attorney Mac Myers, who was forced out by term limits, and will begin the job in mid-January.The council, comprising 14 people, is representative of law enforcement agencies in the 9th Judicial District, which includes Pitkin, Garfield and Rio Blanco counties. It also includes members of the business sector from each community.”This is absolutely community-minded – it’s essential for a district attorney to be aware of what’s going on out there and be receptive to the community,” Truden said.

In Friday’s first meeting, she said the council discussed its mission and goals with which she’d like assistance. Truden said the council will help prioritize these issues and deal with them.In addition, since current Assistant District Attorney Lawson Wills is leaving his position, Truden hopes that the advisory board can help her with the search for his replacement. Wills ran against Truden for district attorney.As part of her campaign, Truden spoke about reaching out to all parts of the district to build relationships that she believes have suffered under the current administration. Truden beat Wills by winning Rio Blanco and Garfield counties in the August primary.”I don’t know what other districts are doing, but I think this is rather unique here,” she said. “I’m excited about reaching out to the community in ways maybe others haven’t done in the past.”Darryl Meisner, chief of the Rifle Police Department, said he looks forward to adding his input to the district attorney’s office.

“I would guess that this is one of the most diverse districts in Colorado – Aspen is more affluent, and compare that to Rangley, which is very agricultural, and Rifle used to be completely agricultural but now the gas industry is really changing things,” he said. “We all have to work with those differences and sets of values.”Meisner said he thinks the district’s needs are pretty much universal when it comes to establishing good communication between law enforcement agencies and the prosecutor’s office.One of the representatives of the upper valley is Aspen resident and attorney Tony Hershey. The former Aspen councilman said he represents attorneys and the Aspen community.”I think one of the reasons the district voted for change is because the district attorney’s office hasn’t always been as responsive to the community as it should have been,” he said.Diana Lawrence, owner of the Outlaws Restaurant in Parachute, said she’s on the council as a business owner and a voice from her community. Her main issues of concern are prosecution of domestic violence and white-collar crime.

“I have a restraining order against someone, and I had specific issues with that because I feel like the administration now has a hard time prosecuting restraining orders for people – I know a lot of women involved in domestic violence who feel they don’t have the support of the current district attorney,” she said. “I feel like Colleen listens, and she takes her job seriously, and that’s something I commend her for. She put together a board that is very diverse, and all of us have our different issues.”Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com


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