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Idaho Springs has named Nathan Buseck of the Cheyenne, Wyoming Police Department as its next chief of police.

He replaces Chris Malanka, who has been chief for more than five years and is retiring March 1.

He will take over as chief starting April 5, the city announced Wednesday afternoon. ISPD’s second-in-command Lt. Mark Hanschmidt will serve as interim chief in the intervening month.

Buseck is a captain and second-in-command in Cheyenne, where he has served for 21 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminology from the University of New Mexico and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Buseck and two other finalists participated in a virtual community forum on Feb. 11 and then interviewed with City Council and a professional panel the following day.

In a city press release Wednesday, Mayor Mike Hillman thanked those community members who participated in the community forum and submitted questions and feedback. The City Council’s decision was a thoughtful one, he described, adding, “This is a very exciting time for our community.”

Malanka, whom the city will recognize at a Feb. 22 council meeting, said he believes Buseck will be a good fit for Idaho Springs’ community and police department.

Malanka has pledged that, despite his March 1 retirement, he will be available to assist Buseck in any way he can while Buseck transitions into the role. He added that Buseck will do a weekend visit before March 1 to talk to Malanka and start the transition.

“I’m very hopeful he will continue to build upon our public service capability and take advantage of the foundation that this community and police department has established,” Malanka continued.

Looking to leave a legacy

During the Feb. 11 virtual community forum, Buseck described how he and his wife have four kids — the oldest of whom lives in Littleton — and the family enjoys camping, hiking and fishing. He also played soccer in college and later coached it, saying that’s where his leadership principles originate.

Buseck said he loves the Idaho Springs community and is looking forward to bringing his experiences to upcoming projects such as the Argo Gold Mill’s gondola.

He said he plans to be in Idaho Springs for the next eight to 10 years.

“I see this being my retirement place — where I’m part of this community and am able to leave a legacy,” he continued.

As chief, Buseck said he would prioritize relationships with the community and ISPD officers.

One aspect of community policing he highlighted was a program he’s participated in where low-level offenders were moved into treatment, saying, “You have to get away from the mindset that you’re going to fix that (addiction) by putting people in jail.”

He also wanted to continue engaging the public via social media and proposed starting monthly videos to educate people about ISPD’s jobs and resources.

“(Community policing work) has to be constant … so (the public) gets to know you and you get to know them,” he continued.