BY DORIS B. TRUHLAR
A Centennial citizen Monday night urged the city council to give Arapahoe County’s newly elected sheriff, Tyler Brown, “a chance” to do his job and be accepted as the new top lawman for the city.
Speaking to the council was Bennett Rutledge, who has been a candidate in the past for city council. Rutledge in the past has been a member of the Libertarian Party. Brown defeated incumbent Sheriff David Walcher in the November election.
Rutledge said Centennial doesn’t need a law enforcement department like Aurora or one like Denver, which he said “guns down unarmed citizens.” The council listened to Rutledge’s comments.
In another matter, the council received the report of Bob Baker, fire chief for South Metro Fire Rescue District, said that Littleton voters approved a unification plan, so Littleton is now part of South Metro Fire Rescue District.
The department has received 6,500 calls this year so far, Baker said. On Oct. 30, the department was called out to a garbage truck fire. New recruits have recently been sworn in. The fire rescue Pipe and Drum Corps has been invited to play at Normandy, France June 6, 2019, and is “very honored” to have been issued the invitation, he said.
Glenn Thompson, chief of the Arapahoe Sheriff’s Public Safety Bureau, told the council that the sheriff’s office will be once again participating in the Shop With a Cop program, in which children are matched with a law enforcement officer and taken on a shopping trip. There are many donated gifts, and the children are permitted to choose gifts for Christmas. The children are competitors in the Special Olympics, he said.
Mayor Stephanie Piko told Thompson that the city appreciated the service of Walcher over the past few years. She said his service as the sheriff has been “a benefit to our community.”
One of the council members asked Thompson whether there has been an increase in the number of homeless people in Centennial, since Denver started cracking down on homeless individuals. He said no.
The council heard a report from two members of the city’s Fiber Commission, Ray Weldell and Jim Duncan, who noted that the installation of the fiber backbone around the city has been completed, and the building of the backbone was “calm and smooth.” They said that the “goals of the master [fiber] plan have been met.”
There was extensive comment by community members regarding an ordinance that would repeal an earlier ordinance regarding new retail automobile sales businesses along the central East Arapahoe Road corridor. This has been controversial in Centennial, and there was a referendum petition challenging an ordinance that would have permitted more automobile dealers. The ordinance was in front of the council for a public hearing.
Jill Meakins, scolded the council, stating that the council should “stop insulting us and treating us like criminals.” Another woman, Rhonda Livingston, thanked the council for their decision not to allow more car dealers. Some of the residents who spoke said they did not like the provision in the ordinance that would allow the council to bring up the topic again in the future.
Andrew Spaulding said the council should not leave the door open to allow more car dealers in the future.
City attorney Bob Widner said the language in the proposed ordinance was routine, and is the language usually found in such laws.
Councilman Ron Weidmann was the only member of the council voting “no” on the ordinance that would – once again – ban car dealers from locating on East Arapahoe Road. The vote was 7-1. One council member was absent.
During the reports of individual council members, Mike Sutherland said he met with a minister, Rev. Gary Brower of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church. He said Brower asked him what the members of his church could do for the community.
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