Six weeks after records request, councilman sees ‘pattern of avoidance’

From Steamboat Today (Steamboat Springs): More than six weeks after a records request, interim Steamboat Springs Police Chief Jerry DeLong still has not decided whether to release three reports related to an independent police department investigation that led to the resignations of the department’s two leaders.

When reached two weeks ago, DeLong said he was reviewing the reports, and there was a possibility they would be released last week.

DeLong was not in the office Wednesday. City Manager Deb Hinsvark said he was not scheduled to return to work until Sept. 9. As the custodian of the records, it is likely a decision on whether to release the reports will not be made until DeLong returns to work.

The city considers Reports 3, 4 and 5 Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act records. By law, the city has 72 hours to respond to such records requests, according to Steamboat Today attorney Chris Beall.

“It’s disappointing that we haven’t made a decision, and it’s taking so long,” city council member Walter Magill said Wednesday. “It seems like there is a pattern of avoidance there.”

When Magill was asked why the city was avoiding making a decision, Magill said there were likely concerns related to potential lawsuits from people who were interviewed during the investigation who were under the assumption that their interviews would be kept confidential.

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