Gunnison police governing board hammering out by laws
Chief position to be open to all current officers, letters of intent due Jan. 27
GUNNISON—The Gunnison Valley Police Department (GVPD) governing board held its first meeting last week, approved bylaws, and agreed to appoint a chief by the end of January.
“My understanding, based on the budget and what is available, is that the recruitment of the new chief will be internal, from the current members of the department,” said acting Gunnison Police Chief Trent Halliday at the Jan. 18 meeting. “My feeling is that we should move forward and take applications for that position.”
Halliday added, “I will be honest with you, I am not going to apply for the position.”
Halliday explained he did want to work for the department, but won’t be available until he has completed more treatment for his Stage-4 cancer and is released by his doctors.
Gunnison City leaders have promised Halliday that if he gets well enough to return to police work, the city will have a position for him.
“Sitting at home is no good,” Halliday said. “I am just not ready to retire yet. My goal is to get back to work as soon as I can, but I don’t want to hold up the appointment of the chief at all. Let’s let the officers in the department who want to apply do just that, and the board can choose between those who are interested.”
Because of all the effort and input Halliday had put into the interlocal policing agreement, Mayor Blackham said he hoped Halliday would attend as many of the GVPD board meetings as possible, acting almost as an advisory member of the board.
Sorensen said he agreed with Halliday’s suggestion and that giving all officers in the department a chance to apply would reduce any perception of nepotism or favoritism in the appointment process.
The board set a Jan. 27 deadline for any interested officer to turn in a letter of intent to apply.
The board agreed that once a chief has been appointed, that chief would appoint a fifth member of the governing board, who could be from anywhere in the county.
The panel also decided that after the chief’s appointment, it would designate board officers (chair, vice chair and secretary-treasurer).
During the meeting, the board members also clarified where a suspect arrested by the GVPD would be prosecuted if the offense was not a state charge, such as a felony.
According to Brett McCall, interim GVPD manager and Centerfield city manager, the two city justice courts were not part of the interlocal agreement. If someone committed a crime that was not serious enough to warrant prosecution in 6th District Courts (any Class-A misdemeanaor or felony goes to district court), Gunnison City Justice Court would prosecute violations occurring in Gunnison.
Crimes of a similar degree committed in Centerfield City would continue to be handled by the Sanpete County Justice Court under an interlocal agreement between Centerfield City and Sanpete County.
“Would there be a benefit or any savings to combining the court system as well?” Mayor Sorensen of Centerfield asked.
Halliday replied, “Not right now, because Centerfield is getting a really good deal from the county with their court arrangement.”
Finally, the board briefly discussed combining Centerfield and Gunnison police records. Halliday said that each city had a separate account with the same company, eFORCE, and that, although it might be tricky, the department would benefit from merging their records.
“We will let them [eFORCE] handle it,” Halliday said. “They’re computer nerds, so they’ll be able to figure it out.”
As the meeting came to a close, Blackham expressed his thanks to Sanpete County Sheriff Brian Nielson, who was at the meeting, for his input during the formulation of the interlocal policing agreement between Centerfield and Gunnison cities.
“Sheriff we are very pleased with your support and contributions,” Blackham said. Nielson replied that he thought the two communities had done a smart thing by unifying their forces.