Chief: Silt PD’s political turmoil is in the past |

Chief: Silt PD’s political turmoil is in the past

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

After covering shifts on the streets and handling a 75 percent staff turnover, Silt Police Chief Levy Burris is finally able to take some weekends off.Burris hasn’t had one holiday off since he took over in June, but things have been improving, he said.”I’ve actually had the last couple of weekends off,” he said. “It’s been nice.”The Silt PD is down to six officers from a force of eight, including Burris. One officer is expected to complete a police academy and begin work in December while Burris continues to look for another candidate. But things were tougher before.Since Paul Taylor stepped down from the police chief position in February and Burris began, only two members of the original police force remain. The high turnover proved challenging.”We were down to a skeleton crew and pulling a lot of hours,” Burris said.Two officers left in the first week Burris took over, one a month later and two more after that. The last officer left about a month ago, Burris said. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and Rifle Police Department helped pull the department through the short-staffed times.”There were issues and problems within the department,” Burris said. “My attitude and philosophy is more dealing with people professionally and treating them with respect, and I don’t know if that’s how things were done previously.””The department was definitely divided when I came in between opposing factions,” he added later.Burris declined to discuss further details about issues in the department. He said that Taylor stepped down as a result of a personnel issue and that Taylor remains on the police force as a detective sergeant and has done well. All the political turmoil has since passed, he added.”Paul’s an experienced officer,” Burris said. “He knows the town. He knows the people.”Taylor continued to receive the same pay after stepping down from the chief job.Along with striving to increase professionalism, Burris said the department has undergone a face lift as well. The patrol vehicles have been cleaned up and received a graphic redesign. Officers now wear all dark blues instead of black pants that were worn in the past.”It’s just a uniformity and a consistent presence,” Burris said.Burris said feedback from the community seems to be positive.”The direction the department is going in will be very beneficial to the community,” he said.As Silt continues to experience rapid population growth and residential development, Burris said he’s attempting to monitor and prepare for the possibility that commercial development in Silt may not keep pace with the residential. That could cause a lack of funding for the police force to grow and meet the demands of an increasing population.”The town’s growing,” he said. “In the next three to five years I anticipate it will be twice the size it is.”Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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