District hires late-night police for Old Town on Fridays and Saturdays
The “security” is back in the Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District.
After about five years without providing extra police protection for the historic area between 24th and 27th streets, the district committee has allocated $10,000 to pay for extra-duty law enforcement officers late Friday and Saturday nights through Labor Day.
The timing - 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. those nights - is not intended to target bars, but “to keep the neighborhood nice and quiet, not rowdy and all that,” said committee chair Judy Kasten. “Most of the problems are fights. The summertime always seems to bring out a lot of that stuff.”
Committee member Bill Grimes described another problem: The I-25/Bijou bridge project has displaced transients from that area and that's resulted in more theft and vandalism problems than usual this year on the Westside.
Since the extra-duty program started in mid-May, “I think a lot of people are feeling safer,” Kasten said. “And that includes employees leaving during those hours.”
The coverage consists of at least one cruiser and officer (either from the Colorado Springs Police Department or El Paso County Sheriff's Office) assigned specifically to Old Colorado City.
Hiring extra-duty police had once been a regular part of the district's annual expenditures. But that line item gradually disappeared, in part because of the lack of serious problems in recent years, according to Ric Geiman, the City Parks liaison to the district.
Another reason, according to Kasten, was fiscal. The 1992 Taxpayers' Bill of Rights (TABOR) limited the amount of tax revenues governments could keep, but this changed after the district “de-tabored” about five years ago. As a result, the district's reserves are “building up again, so the summer allocation became affordable, she said.
Formed in 1979, the district is funded by taxes from the roughly 100 properties in Old Colorado City. The committee consists of district property owners.
Westside Pioneer article