Kremmling officials vote to find new police chief
Kremmling Town Council elected not to reappoint Police Chief Jamie Lucas on Wednesday.
When the town board began its meeting, Mayor Grover Pryor said there was a public comment from Lucas and gave council members time to read a letter he wrote to themselves.
It’s unclear what the letter said because the board didn’t comment on it or read it aloud, nor was it attached to the agenda.
During what appeared to be a series of routine town appointments later in the meeting, council members voted 6-0 not to reappoint Lucas to the position of police chief. Instead, the council directed Town Manager Dan Stoltman to find an interim police chief and start searching for a new hire.
“We have an obligation to provide a full police department as quickly as possible moving forward,” Trustee Erik Woog said. “I think the logical thing to do would be, if there’s any possibility, to retain what we have.”
Council members didn’t comment on why they chose not to reappoint Lucas.
Stoltman said he would begin the search for a new chief immediately after council members emphasized the urgency of filling the position.
Stoltman added that he would see if Sgt. Lawley, who was recently hired back part-time to the police force after leaving last year, would be interested in being the interim chief.
“Starting tomorrow, I will start by reaching out internally and then I’ll discuss with our attorney about reaching out to surrounding areas or potentially putting out a small job ad out,” Stoltman said.
Lucas was placed on administrative leave in December after the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office began investigating allegations Lucas mishandled an animal abuse case, in which three juveniles were alleged to have killed a cat on a property outside Kremmling town limits in October.
As a result of an investigation initiated by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office and completed by the Fraser Winter Park Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office charged Lucas with four counts each of first degree official misconduct, second degree official misconduct and official oppression, and three counts of false reporting to authorities.
Lucas is scheduled to appear in court at 8:45 a.m. on May 5 for his arraignment.
On Facebook Wednesday evening after the meeting, Lucas thanked his supporters and maintained his innocence.
“Although I am deeply disappointed in the board’s decision, I can walk with my head up and know I refused to over look (sic), based on my knowledge of the DA’s office, unethical practices, possibly unlawful conduct, and a sheriff who has lied,” the post said.
Immediate attempts to contact the town and Lucas were unsuccessful.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly suggested a trustee abstained from the vote. No trustee abstained, the mayor doesn’t vote unless there’s a tie.
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A third man charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a child pleaded guilty in Grand County District Court on May 27 and will receive an indeterminate life sentence.