BERTHOUD, Colo. (AP/CBS4) — Officials in the small town of Berthoud offered no details Tuesday at an emergency meeting called to discuss why the seven-member police department was taken over by the sheriff’s office.
The Larimer County district attorney is investigating the department. Police Chief Glenn Johnson and another unidentified officer were placed on administrative leave. No charges have been filed, and it’s not clear what the investigation encompasses.
The town board said that on Sept. 25, town officials received an email accusing a Berthoud police officer of domestic abuse. Shortly after, the Berthoud police chief was informed Loveland police were investigating the officer on those abuse allegations, according to the Berthoud city attorney.
The officer was placed on leave by Chief Glenn Johnson. Soon after, while Johnson was on vacation, his computers were seized by Loveland police.
“It was probably better to put the chief on administrative leave too. That’s really the reason he’s on administrative leave right now, because we were advised that might be the best way to handle it,” Berthoud City Manager Mike Hart told CBS4.
The emergency meeting ended without any questions being taken from the public, which greatly enraged many who attended the standing-room only session.
“It was a complete waste of time,” Berthoud resident Amber Davis told The Denver Post.
The town, about 46 miles northwest of Denver, issued a statement on its website, saying that it was appropriate to bring the police department under outside supervision. The message stated, “In the last several days the Town of Berthoud has received numerous inquiries regarding allegations made against several of its police officers. The Town has not substantiated any of the allegations, and the police officers of the Town, like other citizens, are presumed innocent until proven otherwise.”
Board members said they don’t know details about the allegations.
Loveland police officers executed a search warrant of Johnson’s office Oct. 3 as part of a criminal investigation but spokesman Justin Chase said Tuesday he couldn’t discuss the probe.
In the meantime, Larimer County sheriff’s Sgt. John Feyen is running the department, sheriff’s spokesman John Schulz said Tuesday.
Schulz said state statutes allow the sheriff’s department to take over while Loveland police conduct an independent investigation.
Berthoud is a town of roughly 5,300 people that straddles the boundaries of southern Larimer County and Weld County.
LINK: Berthoud Website
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