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The south side of the western end of Old Colorado City's 2400 block is shown on an early morning in February. The historic district's property owners and business owners are pooling their resources to fund a private security detail this summer.
Westside Pioneer file photo

Private security company hired to patrol Old Colorado City through Labor Day

June 3, 2018; updated June 5
       A private security patrol service has been hired for the summer in Old Colorado City.
       From June 5 to Sept. 3 (Labor Day), an unarmed officer with Mercurial Security Solutions will be on foot Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 8 p.m., the schedule shows.
       The $15,000 cost is being split three ways by groups representing the historic shopping district's property owners and business owners - the Old Colorado City
With Old Colorado City three blocks away in the background, Colorado Springs police officers are shown by the 26th Street bridge in 2013 when it was temporarily closed due to flooding concerns.
Westside Pioneer file photo
Special Improvement Maintenance District (SIMD), the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group and its charitable nonprofit, the Old Colorado City Foundation (OCCF).
       Colorado Springs Police officers “can't be there all the time,” explained OCCF President Dave Brackett, who initiated the security-service concept. “This will help us keep the streets friendly for families.”
       Two “DART West” police officers are assigned to the West Colorado Avenue corridor through the Police Department's Gold Hill station. Those officers use the SIMD office on South 25th Street in Old Colorado City, as will the Mercurial staff.
       Update, June 5: The initial version of this article quoted SIMD Committee Chair Jonathan Neely that the DART West hours are being reduced, but Police Lt. Mike Lux, who heads up DART, said that is not the case.
       Using a tax on OCC property owners, the SIMD carries out public improvements through a committee of owners and a Colorado Springs Parks administrator. The OCCA is funded through member fees and certain promotional events (primarily Territory Days). The OCCF raises money for OCC through donations and special events.
       According to Karen Cullen, OCCA executive director, the OCCA board's vote on the security contract was unanimous. “This is really an idea to help people in Old Colorado City feel more comfortable,” she said.
       Brackett (in an interview) and Neely (at a recent SIMD meeting) both noted that loitering is a common problem in Old Colorado City. This includes people with “constant residency in Bancroft Park,” as Brackett put it. “We need somebody to keep people moving.”
       Mercurial's patrolled area will be 24th to 27th streets and Pikes Peak Avenue to the alley south of Cucharras Street.
       Called “asset protection officers” (APOs), they will have “no authority to make arrests but will provide another set of eyes that can radio CSPD/Gold Hill if needed,” outlined Eric Becker, the SIMD's City Parks administrator.
       Pointing to the work of Mercurial APOs last summer in the downtown area, he added that the Downtown Partnership “has been quite happy with them [and] the Gold Hill Station officers see the patrol as an asset.”
       Mercurial's report for its 2017 downtown summer effort (roughly mid-May to mid-September) states that the company's officers walked and rode bicycles, covering a total of 1,156 miles, meeting with store owners 446 times, responding to 31 requests for assistance and interacting 647 times with what the report calls the “urban transient population (UTP)."
       In Old Colorado City, Becker said that the APOs will be looking for “any type of concerns pertaining to city law/code/ordinance violations. We are looking at this as an investment into our community and keeping our OCC tourists safe and happy.”

Westside Pioneer article
(Community: Public Safety)

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