WALSENBURG — Walsenburg Police Chief Tommie McLallen presented a brief overview of the past year’s policing activities and talked about changes made in the department during his three years as the city’s top cop during the city council meeting Tuesday night. McLallen also spoke to the mayor and council members regarding rumors of a possible ballot question this year that would ask voters whether or not the City of Walsenburg should contract all city law enforcement services to the county sheriff’s office. McLallen talked about technology, staffing, cultural, and policy changes that have been made since he took the chief’s job in early 2013. He talked specifically about use of force issues that plagued the department in the past, saying the hands on dominant combat technique officers used in the past has been changed to a control-based style. “The police department has gone to Koga, which is a modified martial arts technique that focuses on
the controlling of a subject than it does on incapacitation (like the former Krave Mgaw style did), a result, uses of force have dropped dramatically, likely as much as 80 percent overall,” he said. He talked police policies adopted by the department that replaced an antiquated policy book unchanged since 2000. After answering some council questions, McLallen addressed the elephant-in-the-room issue. “It is rumored that there is a petition being circulated call for a ballot initiative to the voters in the upcoming election, the initiative is rumored to ask the voters to turn over all aspects of law enforcement to the county sheriff. To promote shuttering the police department before understanding the impact on the community, the real financial picture and without even understanding the inner workings of the police department is irresponsible,” McLallen said. “Too much emphasis is being put into these rumors, when the facts are readily available to the public,” he said, adding he has, since day one, had an open door policy. He said eight years ago there were about 30 percent less calls for service with double the amount of officers (currently there are seven), eight years ago 14 officers responded to less than 3,500 calls for service. “In 2015, seven officers covered 5,300 calls for service,” McLallen noted. On the contract issue, Huerfano Sheriff Bruce Newman told the World Journal Wednesday morning he was not going to take a pro or con position on the issue. McLallen and Newman both have said they have not seen any kind of petition on the issue yet, but then again, the election is still seven months away.