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City Council hears complaint about officer • Kaspia to start hiring in March for 140 to 200 new jobs

by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — Speaking during the citizen forum segment of Tuesday night’s Walsenburg City Council meeting, city resident David Fogler blasted the performance of WPD Officer Adam Ashby who responded to a break-in call at Fogler’s niece’s residence late Friday night.
Fogler told council members his niece called him when she discovered the break-in and he advised her to call police. Even before she made the call, Fogler said she told him, in effect, it wouldn’t do any good as police had an attitude towards her because of her ex-boyfriend. Fogler went on to say when Ashby did arrive at the home, he treated Fogler, his wife and his niece badly, refused to enter the home until backup arrived and never did a complete investigation of the incident. Fogler said the officer left his card and a statement form, allegedly telling the niece to fill it out herself. “I shouldn’t be disrespected by a police officer,” Fogler told council members. He said he had been out of town since the incident and had not had time to file a complaint with city officials and thus was letting the city council know what happened during their meeting. Fogler said he felt he and his family members deserved an apology.
When Police Chief James Chamberlain stood to give his report, the first thing he did was turn to Fogler in the audience and apologize, saying he wanted to meet with him and that he would look into the incident.
In other business, the city passed its new burn ordinance on second reading in a unanimous vote. Rick Walters of Kaspia Group, the modular home manufacturer, then indicated he would be at city hall Wednesday applying for a burn permit so the company could burn excess material at its plant site in anticipation of opening for operations in the near future. Walters told the city council the firm plans on taking applications and conducting potential employee interviews by the end of this month with hiring to begin in March and, if all goes as planned, to begin actual operations in mid to late April.
Walters said the company plans to initially hire two full shifts of workers, meaning 140 to 200 new jobs for Walsenburg.
The city council also adopted a new personnel handbook by resolution. The handbook replaces the one approved in June 2009 and amended in March 2011.
One of the issues addressed in the new handbook is keeping the lid on police overtime. The old document said full time police officers normally work a total of 86 hours per 14-day work period as assigned by the police chief. The new version says the work period may be changed from time to time by the city administrator or his designee, taking control of officer’s hours from the hands of the department head.