MONTROSE – A Montrose resident was asked to leave Tuesday's meeting of Montrose City Council.
During the council's regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday evening city resident Carl Rite used the public comment period to hammer councilors and Montrose police about the high number of officers who responded to a tense standoff along South Townsend Ave. on Sunday.
New Mayor Judy Ann Files repeatedly asked Rite to state his name and address for the official record.
"No, no, no, no, we’re not going there anymore,” Rite responded. “I have had enough of government telling me what I got to do. I'm trying to tell you what you had better start doing and that's start answering to we the people. I'm tried of this ‘We'll get back to you.’
“No. I'm not buying that anymore. I have evidence that I don't like to see and I want some explanations.”
Councilors Thomas Smits and Bob Nicholson and City Manager Bill Bell were not in attendance; Assistant City Manager Rob Joseph said he would ask the city manager and city attorney to address the issue.
Montrose police offers were called to the Professional Care Service building at 310 S. Townsend Avenue Sunday, following a domestic violence complaint, and deployed tactical munitions to punch holes into the building's windows after the suspect started a vehicle inside the building, causing high levels of carbon monoxide. After warrants were secured officers entered the building to find the suspect disoriented and wounded. He was transported to Montrose Memorial Hospital and is awaiting advisement on several charges.
Rite said he lived in area of Sunday's standoff.
Montrose Police Sgt. Chris Worthington approached Rite, under the advice of the council, to answer Rite's questions.
"Why was it necessary to put 50-some police officers on that particular incident that didn't warrant it, and my opinion it didn't warrant it at all, it was stupid," Rite said.
"Please understand that public safety is our number one focus," Worthington said before being interrupted by Rite.
"Let's start talking about realities," Rite said dismissing Worthington.
"The realities are public and officer safety ok, that's the bottom line. If there are that many police officers on duty and there is an incident that calls for us to step forward and protect one another and keep your neighborhood safe, that's what were going to do," Worthington said.
Rite then proceeded to unravel a plastic bag and dump several spent tactical munition cartages on a table asking Worthington, "tell me, what were they?"
Worthington told Rite they were a form of a "barricade round," used as a standard tool in standoff situations.
"What purpose do they serve and why were they sitting on the ground, I picked these things up at three o'clock this afternoon," Rite said adding from his military experience that service members, "police their brass."
"Here is what were going to do tonight, I'm going to collect the police department's property as trash and throw them away," Worthington said.
"No you won't," Rite countered, "that is mine ... This is my property."
The exchange drew silence from the audience before Files slammed the gavel and asked Rite to take the conversation away from the chambers.
"No, we're not done yet," Rite said before being advised that if he didn't leave he was going to jail.
Rite called the council members, "clowns," and then left the chamber escorted by Worthington to the hallway where their debate continued for about 10 minutes.
"This is an interesting night to be my first night as mayor," Files said.
Before Rite's comments were addressed Files presented Colorado National Guard Sgt. Raymond Hotchkiss of the 928th Area Support Medical Unit, which is leaving the Montrose armory for Ft. Carson this month, with her first proclamation. Files proclaimed April 6 as 928th Area Support Medical Company Day. This coming Saturday the unit is hosting an open house at the armory, located at 12147 6390 Road, on the northwest side of Montrose Regional Airport to serve as a send-off and introduction of a new unit, based in Grand Junction, which will be moving into the Montrose facility.
The Mayor's proclamation is in support for the unit's recent service in Afghanistan from Jan. 2011 to Jan. 2012.
"We send our best wishes and hopes with the men and women of the 928th as they relocated to Colorado Springs," Files read.
The council Tuesday approved its memorandum of understanding with the Montrose Downtown Development Authority to remodel the city-owned former Salvation Army building, located at 514 S. First Street in an effort to promote education and commerce in local agriculture.
The council also heard an update from the Colorado Flights Alliance CFO Matt Skinner on the number of flights, passengers and local economic stimulus visitors moving through Montrose Regional Airport brought to the Montrose community.
Files said she appreciates the findings and encouraged more at future city council meetings.
More detailed coverage from Tuesday's meeting will be in the next edition of The Watch.