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Residents of Colorado town baffled after entire police force suddenly quits

The Washington Post The Washington Post 25/04/2016 Peter Holley
The entire police force in Green Mountain Falls, Colo., quit this month before a newly elected mayor was sworn in. Reporters who visited police headquarters (above) confirmed that the building is empty. © Courtesy of NBC affiliate KOAA The entire police force in Green Mountain Falls, Colo., quit this month before a newly elected mayor was sworn in. Reporters who visited police headquarters (above) confirmed that the building is empty.

If you find yourself in an emergency situation in Green Mountain Falls, Colo., don’t bother calling police.

In this scenic western hamlet, they no longer exist.

All four members of the 700-person town’s police force — Tim Bradley, the police chief, and three volunteer reserve officers — resigned April 14 because of an alleged policy dispute with the municipality’s newly elected mayor, according to Fox affiliate KXRM-TV.

Residents told the station that they weren’t exactly sure why the resignations occurred.

“Our marshal and three deputies quit, and that’s about all they said,” Ann Pinnell said. “We’ve had our hometown marshal for many, many years, so I sure hope we get another marshal in our town.”

A reporter from KXRM-TV who visited police headquarters was unable to get inside the building, which was empty and had the lights turned off. A town meeting summary hanging in the local post office states that Bradley’s resignation had been accepted, but it provides no other details, the station reported.

The town’s newly elected mayor, Jane Newberry, told the Colorado Springs Gazette that she didn’t learn about the resignations until an emergency meeting was held several days before she was sworn in. She characterized the sudden turnover as a routine byproduct of election-year politics and told KOAA that the idea that the resignations were tied to her election was merely “rumor.”

“In an election year, there’s always some people who choose to stay and some people who chose to go, and I think that happens at every level of government,” Newberry told KXRM-TV.

“He is pursuing other opportunities as I understand it, and good luck to him,” Newberry added, referring to Bradley.

Residents in need of emergency help are not without any outlets for assistance. The El Paso County and Teller County sheriff’s offices have decided to help with law enforcement by adding patrols in Green Mountain Falls, according to the Gazette.

Jackie Kirby, a spokeswoman for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, told the paper that the agency has for years provided dispatch service for Green Mountain Falls’s police and fire departments.

“We will answer calls for service there just like we would with any other district in the county,” she told the Gazette.

Residents told KXRM-TV that they are confident that the sheriff’s office will be able to keep them safe but are worried about local ordinances being enforced. That challenge may increase this summer, when the town’s population nearly doubles to 1,200.

Newberry told the station that the town plans to hire new police once a budget is in place.

“They should absolutely feel safe,” she said, referring to local residents. “I have every confidence in the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. I always have, and there’s no reason anybody needs to worry. We are a small community, and it’s one of our advantages is we all look out for each other.”

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