Williams gives $10k for patrol of county roads | PostIndependent.com

Williams gives $10k for patrol of county roads

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario has spoken to one rancher who used to see two or three semitrailers pass by with cattle each day, but now sees 20 in one day related to oil and gas extraction.

In an effort to help people like that rancher, Vallario has reached out to energy companies to forge a partnership for increased patrols of rural county roads.

As a result, Williams Production RMT handed Vallario a $10,000 check Friday to help pay for deputies and state troopers to spend more time patrolling remote county roads used by the oil and gas industry.

Williams spokeswoman Donna Gray said the company is very sensitive to the effects extraction activity can have, such as increased traffic and dust where it may not have been before.

“We’re really happy to see the Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado State Patrol are willing to partner with us,” she said. “Just having a more of a presence there really makes a difference.”

Vallario entered into an agreement with EnCana in 2003 to accept funding to provide an opportunity for deputies to get overtime in exchange for increased traffic patrols in areas affected by increasing gas production. The program was successful in the beginning but as the number of calls for service grew and staffing challenges increased, the program wasn’t meeting its goals, Vallario said.

He recently approached energy companies operating in the county and said he’d like to re-energize the program. Williams was the first to jump on the chance to support it with the $10,000 check.

Major Barry Bratt, Western Colorado District Commander for the Colorado State Patrol, praised the partnership between the industry and law enforcement aimed at helping the public. He commended Williams for the support.

“They want to be a good partner with the community,” he said.

Vallario estimated that a goal of raising $30,000 would provide the overtime funding through 2009. He plans to share the funds with the Colorado State Patrol and possibly other local law enforcement agencies.

Bratt and Vallario said law enforcement spends much of its time busy responding to specific calls or emergencies before patrolling remote county roads. The overtime funds are meant to counteract that and get more coverage of rural routes.

Vallario said the Sheriff’s Office receives about 104 calls for service in the average 24-hour period. He said he does not keep crime statistics related to any one type of industry, but calls related to the oil and gas industry seem to have increased by the same amount that any influx of people would cause.

He said the opportunity for extra overtime will help the deputies and state troopers in addition to the public without spending any additional tax dollars.

“It benefits the deputies and the troopers on the side because it helps them deal with the high cost of living around here,” he said.

He also had a good word for Williams and EnCana, saying the companies lead the oil and gas industry in helping citizens in this county.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121


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