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Public safety post may get new boss

Allyn Harvey

The phoenix of public safety has risen, and it may be gobblingup at least one job at the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.The heads of nearly every emergency services organization in thevalley met Wednesday for the first time in five years under theguise of the Public Safety Council. And one of their first ordersof business was to call for removal of the position of emergencymanagement coordinator from the sheriff’s office.”A similar position will be put together under the Public SafetyCouncil,” said Aspen Fire Chief Darryl Grob, “but it will be anemergency management coordinator for all the agencies insteadof just one.”Grob said Pitkin County’s long-time emergency management coordinator,Steve Crockett, will need to reapply and make it through the selectionprocess if he wants to work for the council.Crockett wasn’t at yesterday’s meeting, and, without knowing exactlywhat was decided, he was not willing to speculate about his futurewith the county. “Right now, I work for Bob,” he said. “It wouldbe best if you talked to him.”Sheriff Bob Braudis was out of town yesterday and not availablefor comment.In a day-long meeting that Grob said put to rest the traditionalturf battles that have made cooperation more difficult than necessary,police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and mountainrescue workers agreed to rebuild the 20-year-old council.”It went great,” Grob said. “I couldn’t be more enthusiastic withthe results.” The meeting was facilitated by Dr. Larry Ritcey, a nationallyrecognized expert in emergency services management. “We broughthim in to work with this group because there were some very volatileissues,” Grob said.One such issue is wild-land fires. A century-old state law placesresponsibility for fighting such fires squarely with county sheriffs.But even though they are in charge of fighting the blazes, theyare seldom, if ever, equipped to do so and rely on help from localfire departments.”The reality is, as Bob put it yesterday,” said Grob, “the sheriff’soffice doesn’t even own a shovel.”If efforts to resurrect the Public Safety Council are successful,as Grob predicts they will be, the sheriff’s office, local firedepartments and other organizations will be better prepared towork together in the future.Grob said the council will be a one-stop shop for people and organizationsto meet with emergency-service providers. If a train is built,Grob said, discussions about what needs to be done in the eventof an emergency will be easier to organize. “We now have a single point where the Roaring Fork Railroad HoldingAuthority can come to discuss emergency management issues thatmight arise with a rail system,” Grob said.The Public Safety Council was originally formed in the late 1970sto give emergency-service providers a way to coordinate theirprograms. The council disbanded for lack of interest and attendancein the mid-1990s, shortly after Pitkin County commissioners formallyrecognized it.Thirteen organizations were represented at Wednesday’s meeting:Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office; Pitkin County Combined CommunicationsOffice; Aspen Police Department; Snowmass Village Police Department;Basalt Police Department; Aspen Fire Protection District; Basaltand Rural Fire Protection District; Carbondale and Rural FireProtection District; Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District;Mountain Rescue Aspen; Aspen Ambulance District; Sardy Field AirportRescue and Firefighting; and the Colorado State Patrol.They will meet again on Wednesday, Feb. 24, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.at the fire station in downtown Aspen. The public is welcome toattend.


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