New chief wants to provide ‘really good service’, built community ties
GUNNISON—After building Centerfield’s police department from the ground up, Brett McCall has been tapped to do the same thing with the new, unified Gunnison Valley Police Department.
During a meeting on Jan. 31, the of the GVPD Governing Board appointed McCall as the new GVPD chief. McCall emerged from an internal hiring process that included up to four current officers from the former Gunnison and Centerfield police forces.
“Honestly, I look forward to building this department to serving the people of the Gunnison Valley better,” McCall said. “That’s what it’s all about. It’s really not about me. It’s a lot bigger than me. I think that we can get to a place soon where we can provide really good service.”
McCall says that now he has been appointed as GVPD chief, he plans to back away from his work as Centerfield city manager.
“I will still continue to help the city [Centerfield] because there are some ongoing projects underway right now,” he said. “I am not going just to step away immediately and leave them high and dry.
“I’m still going to communicate with Centerfield City employees to see if I can help in any way or if they need things until they get to the point where they feel comfortable taking on some more responsibilities.”
McCall says the process of getting the new GVPD up to speed has been very time consuming so far. “We have had to establish new bank accounts, new payroll accounts, retirement accounts and much more.”
The new chief also has some goals and visions for the future of the GVPD.
“Although there has always been a lot of cooperation between the two departments, the officers from both cities are going to have to get used to spreading their wings further out into the valley.”
McCall says he would like to the see the department get a full-time code enforcement and animal control officer, although no funds are available for those functions right now.
“Officer Jordan Horst has been doing it for Centerfield, and he has been doing a great job,” McCall said. “If I could, I would love to offer him a job tomorrow, but that is something the cities will have to work out the funding for.”
One of McCall’s main goals is creating a trusting partnership with the community.
“This is a partnership with our community to try and keep everyone safe, and we need as much help from them as they do from us,” McCall said. “We need to keep drugs off the street, burglars out of homes, robbers out of stores. Its need to be a partnership with everyone in the valley. Business, residents, everybody.”
McCall says part of that partnership is encouraging things to be congruent, with officers working together and working with the community.
“It’s too small of a community not to be community-oriented,” McCall said. “When there is a lot of community ownership, if people offend, they are much more likely to work with us because they know we are not trying to hammer everyone for every little thing.”
McCall has already faced a serious challenge in his first week as chief. When Ricardo Valencia of Gunnison was recently found dead in the Gunnison LDS Stake Center parking lot, the GVPD, with the help from other police agencies, launched an in-depth investigation and sorted out the cause of Valencia’s untimely, but accidental, demise before the day was out.
“It couldn’t have gone any better than it did,” McCall said. “There were so many moving parts in that investigation at the time; it’s pretty incredible that it came together as it did. By 3 p.m., we knew what happened, and the community didn’t have to worry about the possibility of a murderer on the loose. It felt good to say to our residents, ‘Hey, you guys are safe. Everything is fine.'”
Although McCall is just beginning as the new GVPD chief, he says one of his long-term goals is preparing the department for when he retires.
He has 22 years in law enforcement. “In five years, I would like this department to be running smoothly and in a place where I could consider retiring,” he said. “At that point I could step out of a law enforcement role, having mentored these officers into a position of leadership, and make someone capable of stepping into this position after me.
“In my background, I was taught that everyone is a leader. If something happens to me, they need to be able to take up that role and keep the department running well.”