Sheriff clarifies law enforcement service dynamics for Grand Lake
Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin cleared up a bit of confusion Monday night for the citizens of Grand Lake after discussions related to a recently imposed municipal fee sparked a debate about law enforcement services to the community.
Grand Lake’s town hall in early January was packed with local citizens raising concerns about a municipal fee levied by the Grand Lake Board of Trustees at the end of 2017. The town imposed an additional charge of $100 annually on each residential dwelling unit and commercial facility within the town, which is earmarked to pay for law enforcement, emergency dispatch and street lighting services.
During the discussion, Grand Lake resident Pat Farmer questioned the validity of the fee as it related to law enforcement services provided by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, asking whether or not those services would still be provided in absence of a formal contract between the town and the sheriff’s department.
Scott Krob, legal counsel for the town of Grand Lake, told Farmer during the meeting that those services would not be provided if the town did not have a contract with the department to provide those services.
A few days after that meeting, Schroetlin issued a statement to the public confirming the status of the town’s existing contract with his office and highlighting his plans to address Grand Lake citizens’ concerns at a future board meeting.
During last the board meeting Feb. 5, Schroetlin addressed community members about the potential dynamics that would exist if the town did not have a contract for law enforcement with his department. He confirmed Krob’s assertion — in a strictly formal legal sense — but quickly added that deputies would always respond to calls for service in real-world circumstances.
“Some people think we wouldn’t respond if we don’t have a contract [with the town],” Schroetlin said. “Technically I could say we wouldn’t respond. I am not that type of person, though. We will continue to respond to your calls. Mr. Krob and I spoke this afternoon and we are on the same page.”
Schroetlin explained the contract for service between the town and his department tallies roughly $133,000 each year, though every other year the contract also includes the cost of purchasing a new patrol vehicle for the sheriff’s office. Schroetlin noted Grand Lake has the option, at its discretion, to establish its own police force, though costs would be significantly higher.
“Regardless, if you call 911 you will receive a response from the sheriff’s office,” he said.
Schroetlin also confirmed that there is never any direct charge to citizens for emergency calls for law enforcement services, even in absence of a formal contract for service.
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