Community and communication: Kremmling’s new Police Chief talks shop
Kremmling’s new Chief of Police Jamie Lucas has a particular philosophy when it comes to policing and it can be summed up in one word: listen.
“My law enforcement philosophy would be listening,” Lucas said. “Listening to the citizens needs on how they want me to police. Every community has its problems. As a new Police Chief I want to listen and involve the town’s people in resolving those issues.”
Lucas noted that making citizens a key part of the problem solving process leads to greater buy-in from community members in overall policing efforts. Community was a recurring theme for Lucas as he discussed his recent transition to the high country, both in terms of community policing efforts and the sense of community he found in his new hometown, which he called “a breath of fresh air.”
“The town and the town’s people have been very welcoming to me and my family. They are wonderful people,” Lucas said. “When you meet people that are so willing to help you and communicate with you that is great.”
Lucas is a pleasant and affable man with an unmistakable southern inflection to his voice. Originally from South Carolina he has spent his adult life living and working in the Palmetto State. He officially began his tenure as chief of the Kremmling Police Department on July 30 this year but comes to Colorado’s high country with an extensive professional history in the justice system.
Just prior to taking his new role as head of Kremmling’s police department Lucas served as a lieutenant with the Norway Police Department in his home state where he oversaw all criminal investigations for that department. The small town of Norway lies less than an hour away from Lucas’ original hometown of Lexington, a suburb of the state capitol of Columbia.
During his career in law enforcement Lucas has previously worked as a sergeant with the City of West Columbia. After spending seven years in West Columbia Lucas became Chief of the South Congaree Police Department, which is also in the Columbia area. A little over a year after taking that position he was offered the opportunity to become a magistrate for one of the state’s magistrate courts, an appointment he received from the state’s governor.
Lucas went on to spend seven years working as a county magistrate where he served as arbiter for cases that carried small jail sentences as well as civil proceedings involving sums less than $7,500. During his time as a magistrate Lucas became a Chief Magistrate where he handled administrative duties related to his jurisdiction as well as 18 other judges. But after nearly a decade spent on the bench Lucas longed to get back into policing.
“I just missed law enforcement,” he said. “That is where my true heart was.”
Lucas made the move to Grand County earlier this year with his wife Darlene and the couple’s 11-year-old daughter. The couple noted they are still in constant awe of the Rocky Mountain scenery that now surrounds them on a daily basis.
Moving forward Lucas has plans for his new department but said he is seeking feedback from his officers before proceeding with any significant changes.
“It is easy for me to come in and say this is what I want and this is the direction I need but I also want the officers to be invested in the department and the new branding,” Lucas said.
To that end his current endeavors have largely related to upgrading the departments “aging equipment”, as he put it. He said the Kremmling Police are currently in the process of developing a new police patch and new striping for the patrol vehicles. He noted the department instituted the use of body cameras for officers last week. He is also looking at adding a fifth officer to the department, possibly a school resource officer “if approved by the town board,” Lucas said.
Lucas said he wants the public to know he is approachable and that his door is “always open for anybody to come and voice their concerns.”
“I want people to know that they will be treated with dignity and professionalism, not only by me but by the department,” Lucas said. “No matter how small they feel their problem is we will help and if we can’t help we will point them in the right direction to get the help they need. It is about treating people with dignity and respect.”
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Fifth Judicial District Attorney Heidi McCollum confirmed Monday, Oct. 18, that her office filed a single charge of felony menacing against the district’s Chief Judge Mark Thompson on Saturday, Oct. 16.