Newspaper seeks further information regarding police chief ouster

Craig Press: On Tuesday, the Craig Press filed an open records request for more information regarding the forced retirement of former Craig Chief of Police Walt Vanatta earlier this month. Vanatta served as chief for 19 years.

The Craig Press made multiple attempts to learn the reason for Vanatta’s departure through several rounds of interviews with Craig City Manager Mike Foreman, Mayor John Ponikvar and members of the Craig City Council, as well as through questions posed to council during the public comment period of the Aug. 8 city council meeting.

Ponikvar declined to answer the newspaper’s questions Aug. 8, stating that they were taking comments only and citing the matter as a “personnel issue.” Interviews with Foreman and council brought forth no further explanations of the “new direction and philosophy” Foreman said he wanted to see implemented at the Craig Police Department.

Under the Colorado Open Records Act, public bodies are required to provide, upon request, all “writings” made in the process of carrying out official duties.

On Tuesday, Craig Press requested copies of all emails and text messages exchanged between Foreman and council members — and also between individual council members — regarding Vanatta’s departure. The request applies to both personal and official accounts and covers the period between June 1 and Aug. 15.

Visit Craig Press for more.

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