Aspen Police Chief addresses personnel issues |

Aspen Police Chief addresses personnel issues

Dear Editor:

My role as Aspen Police Chief is to ensure our community receives the highest quality of service from its police department. Integrity is critical to the culture and moral fabric of our community. We at the Aspen Police Department are keenly aware that upholding these community values are essential to the safety and health of our community and our department.

I write this letter to address two unrelated personnel situations that have arisen lately that are important for the community to know about and are important to hear about from me.

The first situation concerns Walter Chi, a 26-year-veteran of the Aspen Police Department, who resigned to pursue retirement effective Tuesday, March 19. Walter provided years of dedicated service to our community. However, recent information indicates that he had not fully carried out his duties. After an internal affairs investigation, I found it in the best interest of the community to ask Walter to resign. I understand many in the community will be surprised at this news especially knowing Walter as a friend. Many of us at the police department are equally as saddened at this situation.

The second situation concerns a complaint APD received on March 20, 2019. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office informed me that they had received a complaint related to allegations of unprofessional conduct on the part of Aspen Police Officer Marcin Debski. In keeping with department policy, Debski was placed on administrative leave while an internal investigation is conducted with the assistance of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). I anticipate this investigation taking up to a month due to the inclusion of the CBI. Up until this complaint Marcin’s performance with the police department has been exemplary.

I would like to note that because these are personnel matters, I cannot be more specific. I write this letter with a careful balance of privacy and transparency and assure the community that the safety and security of our residents and guests are the top priorities of the APD.

The Aspen Police Department is dedicated to treating all members of our community with respect as well as in conducting professional and thorough investigations. We have high expectations of our staff and we take these responsibilities seriously. We are committed to always improving as professional police officers and staff. The entire APD staff and I are honored to be serving the residents and visitors of Aspen.

Richard Pryor

Aspen Police Chief

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