Nederland to fold police department, contract with sheriff’s office for law enforcement
Mar. 14—Nederland will cease attempting to rebuild its police department, and will instead contract with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office for coverage.
Despite a series of resignations, including that of Marshal Jennifer Fine-Loven, Nederland officials hoped to restaff the town’s depleted police force following the passage of a tax increase to help fund law enforcement.
The town had acknowledged in the past it needed to increase pay for officers in order to recruit and retain them, and buoyed by the public support for the tax increase the town went about trying to “reboot” the police department.
Mayor Billy Giblin said the town got about 70 applications for potential marshals, and after a months-long search selected a finalist.
But that person ended up withdrawing, and with no guarantee another lengthy search would not end the same way, the decision was made to do away with the police department.
“We went through a huge process and decided on a marshal and hired him, and then some things came up and he had to withdraw, and we were just left back at the starting point,” Gilbin said. “The reality is, with everything we went through, I talked to the town clerk and she said, ‘I just can’t promise you three months from now we won’t be right back here again.'”
At that point, the decision was made to contract with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement coverage.
The town had already contracted with the sheriff’s office for night, weekend coverage and extra work during the officer shortage. But now, it will join the towns of Lyons and Superior as being exclusively policed by the sheriff’s office.
“It just wasn’t working out,” Gilbin said. “We put a lot into it when we decided on the rebuild. But it just became hard to fight the writing on the wall.”
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Haverfield confirmed Boulder County “is in discussion with the town of Nederland to provide their public safety services.”
If an agreement is reached, an Intergovernmental Agreement outlining things like cost, types of service coverage and staffing will be jointly signed by the sheriff, the Board of County Commissioners and town officials.
Giblin said money from the ballot measures will still go toward law enforcement, and the town is hoping to hire some mental health co-responders in addition to contracting with the sheriff’s office.
But for Giblin and other residents who wanted the town to maintain an independent police force, it was not an easy decision to make.
“The community wanted the police department to happen too, but, unfortunately, it just doesn’t seem like the prudent choice to make at this point,” Gilbin said.