RANGELY I Rangely’s town meeting on May 24 was not your typical session. The highlight of the evening was the swearing-in of Rangely Police Department’s newest officer, KayLyn Duke.
With the support of her parents, brother, and grandparents, who arrived from Texas and Oklahoma, Duke was sworn in by Chief Ti Hamblin. Duke hails from Texas and found her way to Rangely after completing her Bachelor of Science in environmental sciences to attend the park ranger academy at CNCC. While attending classes taught by Chief Hamblin, Duke felt her calling to be an officer. When she first approached Hamblin, there were not any open positions, but it didn’t take long for her opportunity to arrive. Duke’s role as an officer makes her the only female police officer in Rangely and Rio Blanco County and marks approximately 15 years since the Town has had a female officer.
In her address to the Board, Duke highlighted how important it was for her to have the honor and responsibility by describing her experience as the representing officer at the Early Education Center’s “Community Helper’s Day” event. The young girls looked at her in awe and admiration as they asked questions, “Can we be police girls too?” and toured her police car. Both Duke and Hamblin acknowledged the importance of having a female officer in the department to build confidence and safety within the community. Officer KayLyn Duke has enjoyed her training and is excited to serve the community of Rangely. Chief Hamblin expressed positivity towards Officer Duke and was impressed with her family’s support noting how critical it is to an officer’s ultimate success.
POLICE CHIEF UPDATE
As the warmer weather arrives, the number of calls increases, especially mental health calls. Hamblin shared that there have been four in the last few days, which is a lot for the department. The department has several significant cases that they are investigating. Interviews have been scheduled to fill several open positions in dispatch. Lieutenant Garner participated in the FBI-LEEDA supervisor class. Hamblin highlights it as the best leadership course he has experienced, and he aims to offer the opportunity to everyone in a leadership role. Chief Hamblin was able to attend the FBI-LEEDA annual conference. Officers Duke and Burr attended Colorado Post Refresher Academy, where they challenged their knowledge and skills, and they both passed the certification exam.
The police department has scheduled the next Coffee with a Cop event for Saturday, June 18, at Giovanni’s. These events will be moved to the third Saturday of the month to increase the availability of community engagement. The OHV ROAR event “in my book was a huge success,” stated Hamblin, sharing that there were no significant issues during the event. The police department also supported the high school After Prom and Rowdy Worm to ensure engagement and safety during the evening events. Trustee Tim Webber shared that a group would be visiting Rangely to participate in LARP-ing (Live Action Role Play) during the Memorial Day Weekend. Chief Hamblin shared his support and enthusiasm for “good, safe fun.” Webber thanked Economic Development Director Jeannie Caldwell for informing and organizing the LARP event.
TOWN MANAGER UPDATE
Town Manager Lisa Piering offered updates from RDA/RDC, including Town Engineer Jocelyn Mullen’s summary of the Cogency project, updates on the grant/loan program, and approval of the Town’s “Just Transition” grant application for a put-in on the river by the Rangely Camper Park. The river put-in project is a long-term project, with a completion date in 2024, that Piering and Mullen hope to partner with Parks and Wildlife. Piering hopes to work towards an Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to support the project, including additional put-in sites. Rangely hosted the Dinosaur Diamond Board at the Rangely Automotive Museum with a small turn-out but quality conversations about how to promote short trips along the route and each participating community. Economic Development Director Jeannie Caldwell and Lisa Piering discussed potential opportunities for Rangely to offer as a member of the Dinosaur Diamond. Caldwell and Piering participated in the Main Street Conference, which was very informational and offered better ways to promote the community.
Town Manager Lisa Piering provided the board with an update, leading with the unfortunate news that former Mayor/Trustees Paula Davis and Dan Eddy and former Animal Control employee Vicky Pfenning recently passed away. The roof at the water treatment suffered further damage from winds. Summer hires have begun working, and the baseball volunteers have helped with the repainting of curbs along Main Street. Patrick Scoggins completed the mural on S. Stanolind Ave, and trustees and Piering complimented the work. Colorado Municipal League offers webinars for elected officials and those are available to the Trustees. Senator Michael Bennet introduced the “National Energy Community Transition Act of 2022” to help fund fossil fuel communities, like Rangely, to transition towards renewable sources. Trustee Kyle Wren offered notice of the grant application for the Executives Partnering to Invest in Children with a brief discussion on how the Town would participate in the ability to provide more dynamic childcare.
There were no council reports; however, Trustee Tim Webber requested discussing holding county commissioner meetings in Rangely at Town Hall to improve community involvement. Mayor Andy Schaffer offered to have conversations with each commissioner.
Piering promised him conversations have been had with all possibilities offered.
By KATIE KING | Special to The Herald Times