New sheriff introduced to agencies, procedures

by Carolina King

The Board of County Commissioners met Wednesday in a work session with newly sworn-in sheriff Lance Fitzgerald to discuss how elected officials will work together to ensure smooth coordination between each other and among all agencies that provide services and administrative functions in the county. The meeting included a warning regarding training for the revamped Victim Advocate Services.
The meeting centered on how the former sheriff worked with other agencies, including the board, and how elected officials and agencies will work to ensure that smooth relationship of cooperation will continue with the new sheriff.

Interagency cooperation
Board Chair John Peters expressed his desire to see what he viewed as “good interaction between elected officials” continue with the newly elected sheriff.
The board discussed various organizations within the county that work together, such as Victim Advocate Services which is shared by the county, Town of Ridgway and City of Ouray.
“This is an area that will leave the county exposed,” Dan Hotsenpiller, 7th Judicial District Attorney, warning of the need to meet training requirements on victim’s rights. “If you are not complying with the Victim Rights Act as an agency, that can lead to various types of legal proceedings against the county.”
“Let’s face it. This has been an area that we have not done great in Ouray County in the last many years, and fortunately we have active citizens,” Hotsenpiller added, referring to a push by citizens that led to the hiring of the Victims Advocate for the area.
Another organization discussed was Juvenile Services. Commissioners praised the unique service that also serves San Miguel County and helps youth with lower level offenses before they have to go to court.
Commissioner Don Batchelder said the program is strongly supported by the schools and community. Peters added that the program gives youth “consequences without permanence.”
Ouray Mountain Rescue Team, a volunteer group that operates under the sheriff’s authority, was also discussed with...

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