Weld County halts victim advocate services

Fort Lupton, other cities start finding other arrangements


The new year will bring more than a flip of the calendar for Weld County crime victims.

Weld County will not provide victim advocate services to law enforcement in the county, save for areas the sheriff’s office patrols. It takes effect Jan. 1.

“Basically, everyone is on their own, so we’re looking at alternatives to get that accomplished,” Police Chief John Fryar told Fort Lupton City Council during a town hall June 28. “We’re going to have to do it ourselves at our expense.”

 Victim advocates work with police and District Attornies in several Colorado jurisdictions, providing information about how the court system works and the current status a current case.

"We’ve never had a dedicated SVU," said Weld County Sheriff's Office spokesman Joe Moylan. "Our contract with some south county towns to have our victim advocates respond to calls is due to sunset at the end of the year."

One option is to join other cities and towns in the area and share the cost. Fryar said he’d been in meetings with the Brighton Police Department about how to share services and training. Brighton and Commerce City share a victim advocate program. Fryar said the two agencies share an office for the program, which helps mitigate costs.

“They are six minutes away,” Fryar said. “Those are things we are going to have to make a decision on. Even though the service runs out Dec. 31, we can’t end it Dec. 31 and start it Jan. 1. We have to train people. If it’s an MOU (memorandum of understanding), we’ll have to transfer cases over.”

The extra cost could range between $4,500 and $5,000. Fryar said if the decision came earlier, he could have applied for a grant that would have taken effect July 1. He estimated Fort Lupton asked for help for between 200 and 250 cases per year, though he said that figure “was an under-count.”

“We’ll have to carry this for the last half of 2022 and, probably, the first six months of next year before anyone can supplement,” he told the council. “There are political pieces, too. There’s a little more money to the west and a little less money east and south. We’re going to put the best ideas together and bring them back to you.”

Marijuana growers

The next marijuana-related issue for Fort Lupton could be growing operations. Council approved the last of four medical/retail-medical marijuana licenses early in June.

The item came up for discussion during the last stages of a council town hall meeting on June 28. The council couldn’t make a decision because of the meeting’s format.

“I get the sense that the growers want to pay the additional tax,” Mayor Zo Stieber-Hubbard said. “They are more than willing to help us. But they are aware that we are reluctant to say ‘Go ahead, growers’ until they pay more.”

Council has to decide by the end of July whether to put a grow tax question on the November ballot.

"If we decide to put “grow tax” on the ballot, we have to know in time to get the proper wording done," Stieber-Hubbard said. "The city voters approved retail tax, but we failed to include grow tax in the measure in 2020."

Additional reporting by Belen Ward

Weld County, victim advocate services, City of Fort Lupton, Fort Lupton City Council, Fort Lupton Police Chief John Fryar


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