UPDATED: Ouray Police Chief and Deputy Leave Department
by Samantha Wright
May 14, 2013 | 2616 views | 1 1 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print

OURAY – The Ouray County Sheriff’s Office continues to help cover the City of Ouray’s law enforcement needs after Ouray Police Chief Leo Rasmusson handed in his retirement papers early Tuesday this week, on top of the announcement Monday by longtime Ouray Police Department Deputy Tony Schmidt that he also intends to quit the department, with an effective date of next Wednesday, May 22. 

Rasmusson’s resignation was effective immediately, leaving the department without a leader for the time being.

The Sheriff’s Office has six law enforcement officers including Sheriff Dominic “Junior” Mattivi, four deputies and an undersheriff.

“We will fill in as best we can,” said Mattivi on Tuesday afternoon. “We are not going to let the people down; we are going to do what we can to help cover the department and make sure there is no lack of law enforcement in the town.”

City Administrator Patrick Rondinelli sent members of the Ouray City Council an email on Tuesday morning, informing them of the precipitous departures of both Rasmusson and Schmidt. 

“It has taken me by surprise as much as everyone else,” Councilor John Ferguson said.  “It’s an interesting shake-up, for sure. I hope that our little city gets through the summer alright. Hopefully it will work out for the best.”

Ferguson said that the search for a new police chief and officer will get underway immediately. “We will get new ones as soon as we can,” he said. “The positions will be posted for about three weeks, then we can start the interview process.” 

All members of the city council who were reached for comment by The Watch stated they had no information to share about the reason behind the resignations, although Ferguson allowed that he was aware there was some “unhappiness” in the department.

Members of the Ouray Police Department sent a clear message to council at a work session in mid-April that they were disgruntled with a new schedule Rasmusson had recently implemented in the department, on Rondinelli’s directive. The change came on the heels of an assessment of the Ouray Police Department conducted by an independent consulting firm, which recommended a number of ways to improve the four-man department’s efficiency and effectiveness. 

Rondinelli said he was not at liberty to comment on whether the schedule change may have been a factor in the resignations. Asked if there has been mounting tension between his office and the Police Department, he said, “I get along with the guys and they have not indicated dissatisfaction.”

Both Schmidt and Rasmusson submitted letters of resignation to Rondinelli. At press time, Rondinelli was looking into the legality of granting an open records request from The Watch to see the letters, although he did say that they were both “short and sweet” and contained no details as to the reasoning behind the resignations.

The Watch was unable to reach Schmidt and Rasmusson for comment.  

swright@watchnewspapers.com or Tweet @iamsamwright

 



PUBLISHED MAY 14, 2013, AT 9:16 p.m.


Ouray Police Chief and Deputy Leave Department

City Officials Mum So Far on Shake-Up

OURAY – The Ouray County Sheriff’s Office is helping to cover the City of Ouray’s law enforcement needs after Ouray Police Chief Leo Rasmusson handed in his retirement papers early Tuesday on top of the announcement Monday by longtime Ouray Police Department Deputy Tony Schmidt that he also intends to quit the department, with an effective date of next Wednesday, May 22.

The Sheriff’s Office has six law enforcement officers including Sheriff Dominic “Junior” Mattivi, four deputies and an undersheriff.

“We will fill in as best we can,” said Mattivi. “Today we covered for them; and there will be a few other days we will help cover the shifts. We are not going to let the people down; we are going to do what we can to help cover the department and make sure there is no lack of law enforcement in the town.”

The Ouray City Council learned of the precipitous departures of both Rasmusson and Schmidt via email from City Administrator Patrick Rondinelli on Tuesday. 

“It has taken me by surprise as much as everyone else,” Councilor John Ferguson said.  “It’s an interesting shake-up, for sure. I hope that our little city gets through the summer alright. Hopefully it will work out for the best.”

Ferguson said that a search for a new police chief will get underway immediately. “We will get a new one as soon as we can,” he said. “The position will be posted for about three weeks, then we can start the interview process.” 

Ferguson and fellow Councilor Michael Underwood, also reached by The Watch for comment, declined to share any more information about the reason behind the resignations, although Ferguson allowed that he was aware there was some “unhappiness” in the department.

Members of the Ouray Police Department sent a clear message to the Ouray City Council at a work session in mid-April that they were not at all happy with a new schedule Rasmusson had recently implemented in the department, on Rondinelli’s directive. The change came on the heels of an assessment of the Ouray Police Department conducted by an independent consulting firm, which recommended a number of ways to improve the four-man department’s efficiency and effectiveness. 

Both Ferguson and Underwood deferred to Rondinelli on the matter of the resignations, but Rondinelli was unavailable for comment at the time this story was posted. According to Watch sources, Rondinelli held a meeting with the remaining members of the police department at around 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon to apprise them of the situation.

The Watch was also unable to reach Schmidt and Rasmusson for comment. On Tuesday afternoon, the number for the department’s duty phone was being forwarded directly to Montrose dispatch.

 

swright@watchnewspapers.com or Tweet @iamsamwright

Comments
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windworker
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May 17, 2013
My, oh my, what a coincidence that KRW JUST HAPPENS to be a recruiting firm!