O’Connor tapped for Basalt police chief
BASALT – Roderick O’Connor was appointed as the new top cop in Basalt Tuesday night, Town Manager Bill Kane said.
O’Connor, who is currently a sergeant with the Basalt department, will replace Keith Ikeda, who is retiring Sept. 11. O’Connor’s appointment takes effect Sept. 13.
The town charter allows the town manager to make the appointment with the “endorsement” of the Town Council, Kane said. The council deliberated the move in a closed session Tuesday, then voted 4-0 for endorsement. The move was supported by Mayor Leroy Duroux and council members Anne Freedman, Pete McBride and Glenn Rappaport. Councilwoman Jacque Whitsitt abstained on principle because she felt the decision should be at the sole discretion of the town manager, according to Kane. Council members Katie Schwoerer and Karin Teague were absent.
Kane said he felt O’Connor was the best candidate for several reasons. Probably most important is “he fundamentally understands the town’s philosophy” when it comes to policing, he said. Police are regarded as “peace officers,” according to Kane.
O’Connor also has a tremendous amount of support within the community and among officials with other law enforcement agencies in the Roaring Fork Valley, Kane said. O’Connor was being groomed for the job by Ikeda by being promoted to the position of sergeant in charge of many administrative duties. He has also played an important role for years in investigations and patrol. It was widely known after Ikeda announced his intention months ago to retire that O’Connor was the favorite the earn the post.
Kane said “it would have sent the wrong message” to search outside the department for a new chief.
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