Two new officers ready to hit the streets |

Two new officers ready to hit the streets

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Two new cops will soon be on the streets for the Glenwood Springs Police Department and the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.

Rusty Slater and Christopher Janz graduated Saturday from the Western Colorado Peace Officers Academy at Mesa State College in Grand Junction.

Slater, a Glenwood Springs native, will be working for the GSPD. Janz will go on patrol for the Sheriff’s Office. Both men completed 14 weeks of intensive training including classes on the Colorado criminal code, arrest control, community policing, firearms, ethics, law enforcement driving, police procedures and report writing, according to a news release.

The training culminated with a Peace Officer Standards and Training test on November 21 and graduation ceremonies the next day with congratulations from Colorado Department of Public Safety Director Peter Weir.

Police Chief Terry Wilson said he’s pleased to hire a long time local. Slater was born in and grew up in Glenwood Springs, and many people probably remember eating at a restaurant run by his grandparents ” Andre’s Pizza.

“It’s exciting when you’re able to keep someone in the community that’s a part of it and has grown up here,” Wilson said. “For him it makes it a very personal job to be able to do what we do in his hometown.”

He said Slater completed a four-year degree in criminal justice at Mesa State College and did “exceptionally well” in testing and in the police training program.

Wilson said he’s considering a couple more potential hires that will complete a training academy at Colorado Mountain College in the coming weeks.

The GSPD will still have a couple positions open, but it won’t have five or six positions open like it has at various points over the past two years. The GSPD has a total of 26 sworn officers, Wilson said.

The national economic downturn has prevented the GSPD from getting additional staff positions approved by the city, Wilson said, but he respects the decision and said it’s probably a wise move.

“(The downturn) affected us from the standpoint that I think our potential for getting any additional positions definitely took a hit,” Wilson said, adding later that he agrees with the city’s decision because, “I’d rather not hire today and have to lay off tomorrow.”

Sheriff Lou Vallario said his office was down about 33 positions in June, but between recent hires and potential hires still in training, he’s looking at having only around 12 positions open. He said once staffing levels come back up, he may request additional positions next year or in 2010. He said the economic downturn hasn’t yet affected the Sheriff’s Office.

“It’s hard to say but the economy isn’t hitting us really like some of the other areas in the country,” he said.

Vallario added that demand for law enforcement actually increases during times of economic trouble as people resort to committing more crimes.

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