BERTHOUD, Colo. (CBS4) – The Larimer County sheriff has revealed serious problems he found within Berthoud’s police department and now town leaders are deciding whether to fix them or leave law enforcement to Larimer County.
Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith recently wrapped up his investigation after months of controversy surrounded the Berthoud Police Department.
He found they hired unqualified officers, their paperwork filing was haphazard, and they held on to impractical AR-15 style fully automatic rifles.
“Not only were they there but that they were not appropriately secured as you would expect in such a situation,” said Smith.
Smith’s investigation follows the release of a former officer on charges of child abuse.
“It’s sad that it happened and it’s sad that it happened in this little town,” said Berthoud resident Courtney Rafferty.
Now it’s up to town leaders to either pay Larimer County deputies up to $1 million a year to handle their policing, or figure out how to fix their current force.
“It’s a great opportunity for our community to bring our level of service to upper-quartile excellence,” said a Berthoud resident.
“I would like to see the town and the Berthoud police take care of their own situation. I think there are good people here in Berthoud and they need to take care of themselves,” said Berthoud resident Arela Fannin.
Town leaders plan to discuss the options at a meeting on Feb. 11.
According to Smith, if Larimer County does take over, current Berthoud police officers could stay on but would have to pass background checks and go through training again.
Response To CBS4 From The Town Of Berthoud
At this time we have before the Town Board two options to consider in order for the Town of Berthoud to move forward in a positive manner concerning the Public Safety of our citizens. In the mean time, we will continue to be well taken care of by the Interim Chief John Feyen and the Larimer County Sheriffs Office.
– Trustee Dick Shepard, Town of Berthoud
LINK: Justin Smith Letter