There’s a new sheriff in town, and with him comes a new contract for Dolores.
Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin, a long-time Dolores local and former lawman with the Colorado State Patrol, took over the post Jan. 13.
Dolores and Nowlin have agreed to a one-year $157,520 contract for the sheriff’s office to provide law enforcement services for the community of 900 residents.
In addition, Dolores agrees to contribute $35,000 toward the purchase of a fully equipped police patrol vehicle beginning this year, and again every third year.
At the end of the three-year cycle, or longer if determined by the sheriff, the vehicle – a 2015 Ford 150 pickup – will revert back to the town of Dolores.
Nowlin said he plans to hire two deputies that will be assigned to serve Dolores 80 hours per week. He asked his rank-and-file if there were volunteers to take over the Dolores post, but there were no takers.
“I only want deputies who want the permanent assignment,” he said during the county commissioners’ meeting Monday. “I’ll be looking for officers with at least five years experience, not new officers.”
In the meantime, the Dolores patrol shift will be rotated among current officers.
Nowlin says he plans mounted patrols throughout the county, including in Dolores. As part of the contract, Dolores agrees to allow horses utilized by the sheriff to be within city limits.
Nowlin plans monthly reports to the town board on police activity. The sheriff will enforce town ordinances along with state and county laws.
Patrols will be in town, and also on the outskirts, including in the Boggy Draw neighborhoods, in the northeast and southern corridors, and along the Dolores-Norwood Road.
“Weekend patrols will focus on the bars and ski traffic,” Nowlin said.
The town also amended an ordinance to include speed limits. Central Avenue is set at 20 mph except for the school zone between 11th and 14th streets, where the limit is 15 mph when school is in session. All other streets and alleys in Dolores excluding Colorado 145, have a speed limit of 15 mph. Penalties for municipal code violations were amended to impose a fine of up to $500 only, no jail. Town attorney Mike Green reported that the no-jail provision avoids jury trials for traffic offenses.
The town plans to work with the public works department to determine what needs to be done about on-street parking during snow removal times.