Jason Spruell has retired from his position as the Mancos town marshal, effective Friday, Nov. 9.
He recently purchased Mesa Verde Motorsports, a business that his grandparents started under the name Gene Patton Motor Co.
Spruell sent his resignation letter to the Mancos Board of Trustees on Oct. 25, the same day the town began advertising to fill his position.
Mancos town administrator Heather Alvarez says the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office “is assisting Mancos with coverage for the Town” in the interim.
Spruell says he is retiring from law enforcement because he felt it was time to get his motorsports company “back into the family.”
“I was just ready for a change of pace,” Spruell told The Journal during a phone interview Tuesday.
Spruell says he expects maintaining the newly purchased motorsports company will keep him busier than he was as town marshal, but he is happy to be back at a business that once employed him as a high schooler.
Spruell said that he “loved working for the town of Mancos,” which was part of a 20-year career in law enforcement. Before getting his first full-time enforcement job as a deputy officer in Montezuma County, he volunteered for five years on the county reserve force.
Spruell says that, when he was appointed to be the Mancos town marshal in May 2016 after serving as the acting marshal for six months, he inherited a law enforcement office with outdated vehicles, uniforms and firearms.
Since then, the town board of trustees has approved multiple purchases requested by Spruell, including two 2018 Chevy 1500 Crew Cab trucks in February,
Spruell said two out of his department’s patrol vehicles are beginning to show their age in ways that make it more difficult for deputies to do their job. The town had budgeted $90,000 to acquire replacement vehicles. The board granted Spruell’s request to buy two for $89,002.
In addition to the new vehicles, Spruell reported that he had a full staff of deputies for the first time in several years.
Spruell also managed the investigation of Danielle Romero-Keller, a former substitute employee at Mancos Schools, who pleaded guilty in March to making a threat against students and staff in February.
On Feb. 23, the Mancos School District RE-6 went into lockout mode after 43-year-old Romero-Keller, who was finishing her first week as a substitute administrative assistant, reported that someone had called the district office and said, “We are going to kill you all.”
An investigation by Spruell’s office showed Romero-Keller was the one who called the office from her cell phone just before she reported the threat.
According to a report by Spruell, Romero-Keller went to his office on Feb. 26, and confessed to making the threat against the schools. She reportedly claimed she feared for her safety after a similar threat was rumored to have been made against the Montezuma-Cortez RE-1 School District, and wanted to “get all the students and staff out of the school before there was an actual threat to the school.”
Mancos Superintendent Brian Hanson said she was fired the same day.