Silverthorne council plans to discuss policing philosophy amid national protests |

Silverthorne council plans to discuss policing philosophy amid national protests

SILVERTHORNE — Silverthorne Town Council on Wednesday met with police Chief John Minor to discuss efforts for transparency and training within the police department.

Mayor Ann-Marie Sandquist began the work session with a statement sharing her thoughts on the national conversation surrounding racial injustice. 

“I was devastated — and sickened — as I watched the use of force which lead to George Floyd’s death, and I raise my voice along with many, many others and say, ‘Enough is enough’ and that ‘black lives absolutely matter.'” Sandquist said. “I am not black, and I am not law enforcement, but I am definitely listening … to the national conversation, to the state Legislature’s proposed changes and to our own community, which also includes our chief and our officers.”

Minor said one of the police department’s goals is critical-incident training, which mainly is intended to help individuals experiencing mental health crises.

When council member Derrick Fowler asked Minor whether the police department is able to acquire all of the training it needs, Minor said he struggles to get staff into classes because they fill up almost immediately.

Fowler asked Minor to let council know if there is any training the department cannot get because of funding. 

“I’m here to say funding should not be an issue for you guys to have all the training and the best training that you guys need,” Fowler said.

In terms of transparency, Town Manager Ryan Hyland noted that Minor puts together an annual report that includes information about every use-of-force incident, internal-affairs incident, de-escalation, complaints, compliments and every time a weapon is unholstered or presented.

Minor also gives a general update about calls for service and other police activity every two weeks in the council meeting packet. However, the council requested a more formal report, which now will be monthly and include statistics on the types of calls as well as department training updates.

Council member Kevin McDonald, who brought up the idea, said this type of report could increase oversight.

“It seems like something we can just keep in front of us on a regular basis,” McDonald said about the report. “It seems like it would create a little bit of extra accountability and a little bit of extra oversight for us just so we’re always keeping it front of mind.”

Council plans to have a discussion on the topic of policing at the next work session, when council and staff will review the values and culture of the Silverthorne Police Department and discuss philosophy, policies, training, transparency, internal affairs investigations, de-escalation, anti-biased policing and use of force, according to Hyland.

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