Police chief, town clarify review

CENTER — The Town of Center and Center Police Chief Tristan Vanzalinge have asked that the following points regarding last week’s Center Post-Dispatch article on the Center Police Department be clarified.
• The police department and its officers are not under review per se. A complaint made by an unidentified individual(s) is being reviewed by an outside human resources firm at the request of Town Administrator Brian Lujan and Police Chief Vanzalinge.
• This review involves speaking with members of the police department to determine the validity of the complaint. Lujan explained Monday in a telephone interview that this is a routine matter he himself could have handled. He chose instead to suggest it be referred to an outside human resources agency a) because the town does not have such an agency itself and b) because he felt he lacked the particular expertise needed to deal with it.
• Lujan describes the matter under review as “an isolated internal complaint. There is no direct or indirect correlation to any former police chiefs involved” regarding references made in the article to stories run earlier in the Center Post-Dispatch.
• Lujan did not address, in any of his conversations, concerns registered by town residents.
• Police Chief Vanzalinge is actively seeking town residents to sit on a Police Commission he proposed when first hired. The commission would not be involved in direct oversight of the police department but would instead act as a liaison committee between the community and Center Police. Look for more on the formation of the commission in upcoming issues.

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