Five officers received promotions in a small ceremony this week as the Cortez Police Department works to ease its lieutenants’ workload. The promotions also were a response to the retirement of veteran Patrol Sgt. Dave Allmon and drug abuse officer Vern Rucker.
Allmon served for 20 years, and Rucker for over 29, according to Assistant Chief of Police Andy Brock.
Brock was selected to fill the newly created assistant chief job. Chief Vernon Knuckles lobbied Cortez City Council last month for money to create the position, arguing that patrol and detective lieutenants were burdened with added responsibilities that keep them from focusing on their divisions.
Before the department changes, the patrol lieutenant was responsible for managing the patrol division, dispatch center, animal shelter and community services.
The detective lieutenant oversaw the detective division, records division, evidence and property and the victim advocate coordinator.
“It spreads them so thin that often times things get missed because there’s just so much to keep track of,” Knuckles told City Council last month.
Brock will oversee much of the department’s day-to-day operations and some of those extra responsibilities.
The additional cost to the 2021 budget, between the salary, computer equipment and office furniture, comes out to $131,147.
“This gives both lieutenants an opportunity to kind of focus more on their division,” Brock said. “They can effectively just concentrate on their division.”
Knuckles will continue to focus on community relations and the long-term future of the agency.
Patrol Sgt. Rex Brinkerhoff was promoted to patrol lieutenant.
Angelo Martinez was promoted for the second time to patrol sergeant after taking on a temporary assignment with the investigations division.
Patrol officer Mike Moran was promoted to patrol sergeant, and officer Stephon Lobato was made a detective.
Together, the five officers have a combined total of 91 years of experience.
Brock told The Journal that the department has begun utilizing its recently purchased Axon body cameras.
New Axon Tasers have also come in, but the department intends to implement one thing at a time.
“It’s a learning curve for one thing,” Brock said. “We’ll wait, then learn the next thing.”