The Home Front: Probe finds cops improperly searched low-income Longmont housing units without warrants

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The Home Front: Probe finds cops improperly searched low-income Longmont housing units without warrants

An independent investigation into warrantless searches of the Longmont Housing Authority’s Suites apartments found that some of the residents were under the impression they would be evicted if they refused the searches, while others were not even in their units when police entered,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “The 44-page report released by the Weld County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday confirmed allegations that K-9 Officers Michael Marquardt and Billy Sawyer conducted searches without a warrant or valid voluntary consent. The report also found that K-9 supervisor Sgt. Andy Feaster failed in adequately supervising the K-9 unit and its officers. Longmont Public Safety Chief Mike Butler said Wednesday that Marquardt was suspended for 30 hours, while Sawyer was suspended for 10. Feaster was not disciplined.”

“With a downhill slide in healthy eating and exercise over the holidays, New Year’s is a time for resolutions and kick-starting healthy habits,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “But many Greeley gym owners say, while they’re preparing for larger crowds this month, they’re noticing more people taking steps to stay healthy year-round, not just come resolution time. “I think people are starting to become more proactive in their health then they have in past years,” said Daniel Rohn, owner of Greeley Health and Fitness, 3820 10th St., who said he saw activity start to pick up through December. ‘I hear a lot of people saying they’re not going to make a New Year’s resolution. They’re just going to commit to getting healthy.'”

“Western Colorado residents from Grand Junction to Gunnison to Durango can look forward to starting to take advantage of the state’s relatively new Bustang bus service as it spreads its reach,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The Colorado Department of Transportation says it expects to begin serving those communities this summer after first expanding its service in January into southeast Colorado between Pueblo and Lamar. While CDOT will begin providing service between Grand Junction and Denver, the move will come as Greyhound discontinues its service between those cities this summer. Greyhound spokesperson Lanesha Gipson said the state has provided Greyhound a subsidy to operate between Denver and Grand Junction, but effective next June will no longer do so. But she noted that Greyhound and Bustang continue to have a ticketing partnership in Colorado, announced earlier this year, enabling customers to buy one ticket for trips using both services. Gipson called that ‘a win-win for both parties, as customers now have access to both networks.'”

“The Colorado Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that the Colorado 96 (Lincoln Street) project to add a center turn lane between Abriendo and Orman avenues has been postponed,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “However, CDOT will replace the signals at Abriendo Avenue and Lincoln Street, as well as the Lincoln Street signals at Orman Avenue and Evans Avenue.”

“The Grinch must have been in Steamboat Springs for the Christmas holiday because baby Jesus has gone missing from the manger sitting in front of Holy Name Catholic Church,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Betsy Johnston, who works at the church, said baby Jesus was last seen at about 9 p.m. on Christmas Day. A parishioner noticed it was gone at about 2:15 p.m. the next day.”

“By two different measures, Summit County’s real estate sales slipped slightly in November, the most recent month for which records were available at the Summit County Assessor’s Office,” reports Summit Daily. “Of course, the housing estate market remains historically tight in the High Country, pigeonholed by few listings and rising prices. Still, there’s some room for optimism on the horizon, with one local real estate agent eagerly awaiting the release of some new homes, even though few people believe real estate prices will come down here anytime soon.”

“The first time Dick Stenbakken took in the serene beauty of the National Memorial Cemetery in Honolulu, he was a young Army chaplain on leave from Vietnam and facing another 100 days ‘in country’ before his combat tour was up,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The fresh scars on the manicured lawn were a vivid reminder of the men and women dying in Vietnam and the possibility that some of his own soldiers — or he — could be joining them, he said of that visit in 1970. On Dec. 13, the Loveland resident was back again among the tens of thousands of granite headstones in the cemetery, helping dedicate a marker memorializing all the U.S. military chaplains who have served through the years in the Pacific Theater.”

“The 11 ski areas that use public lands in the White River National Forest paid a record $20.18 million in fees last fiscal year, but none of the funds helped create trails, patrol the backcountry or improve campgrounds,” reports Vail Daily. “The revenue was returned to the U.S. Treasury. The White River National Forest, which attracts more visitors than many national parks, raises more in revenue than it costs the government in expenses. The irony is the sprawling, 2.3-million acre national forest — which surrounds Vail and the Eagle River Valley — has a shrinking budget to tackle its core missions, even as it’s collecting a record amount from the ski areas.”

“Within the next two years, the Midtown Arts Center could turn into a home for 60 currently homeless Fort Collins residents,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Housing Catalyst, formerly the Fort Collins Housing Authority, is buying the 20,650-square-foot performance venue at 3750 S. Mason St. for $2.7 million. It hopes to close the sale as early as Friday and begin the lengthy process of building new supportive housing for the homeless on the site.”

“Tom Gray grew up in Honolulu in the years after World War II, in a tight-knit island community that felt and operated much like extended family,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Perhaps that’s why his wife is the one seemingly more over-the-moon about the recent family holiday update that’s gotten a global embrace. “It’s amazing,” said Lee Gray. “I was lucky to marry into this wonderful family, and now it’s even bigger.” The Colorado Springs couple is at the heart of an inspiring story of coincidence and kismet that’s gone viral this holiday season: Walter Macfarlane and Alan Robinson, two lifelong best friends in Hawaii, recently discovered they are in fact half-brothers.”

“People with mental illness who are accused of crimes in Colorado are waiting up to four times as long as legally allowed for evaluations and treatment because the system is so overwhelmed, their attorneys say,” reports The Denver Post. “Colorado is bound by a 2012 lawsuit settlement to conduct mental competency evaluations or begin treatment for people found incompetent to stand trial within 28 days of a judge’s order. But for the second time in six months, the state has revealed it is failing to meet the requirements of the federal settlement.”

“Tay Anderson, the 19-year-old who lost an election for a Denver Public Schools board seat last month, says in a Facebook video posted Wednesday that he hasn’t picked a gubernatorial candidate yet — because none of the Democrats running have enunciated a specific set of progressive positions Anderson says are required to get his endorsement,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “But because it’s Facebook, one of the six Democratic candidates, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, drops by to remind Anderson that he’s outlined a policy that satisfies one of the young man’s prerequisites, to get the state to 100-percent clean energy. Later, Anderson gives a shout-out to Polis for being the only candidate to reach out in response to his video, although he stresses that it’s an acknowledgment, not an endorsement.”

“Amanda Lyall awoke in an abandoned lot on July 21 with police officers standing over her,” reports Denverite. “Someone had spotted her make-shift sleeping spot and reported her to the cops. This was, of course, the worst way to start a day. She felt a rush of despair and frustration. It was going to be another day on the streets of Denver, and she didn’t know how many more she could handle. “I was done,” she recalled months later. “It’s dehumanizing. It’s scary.” Still, she kept her cool and shouldered her 80-pound bag as the officers watched that morning. Setting out through the summer morning, she made her way toward the city’s northern edge. She had somewhere to be. She was going to learn whether her last hope might happen.”

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About the Author

Corey Hutchins

is a journalist in Colorado, and Columbia Journalism Review's Rocky Mountain correspondent for the United States Project. Follow him on Twitter @CoreyHutchins and email him at CoreyHutchins [at] gmail [dot] com.

3 Comments

  1. Will Morrison on said:

    The city of Longmont, where I live, should be sued into the ground. Every cop involved should be fired, as should the chief. How could they NOT know how illegal this was? Isn’t it their JOB to KNOW when they are CLEARLY stepping over the boundaries and VIOLATING THE HELL out of people’s rights? If they don’t, and clearly they did NOT or didn’t CARE, then they need to GO.

    For the love of God, even in Two Scoops’ America, we STILL have rights. And those rights are to be protected FROM THE GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING CITIES. For these CRIMINALS to come barging into people’s homes with NO warrants, NO probable cause, NO warning, but WITH intimidation and dogs that strike fear into most people’s hearts is nothing but fascist, and I for one do NOT support that. Not here, not in this state, not in this country, not ANYWHERE. We fought wars against this type of thing, and now we are doing it in freaking Longmont? This is 1,000% UNACCEPTABLE.

    These cops need to be fired. There is NO other actual acceptable alternative. May there be a lawsuit that prevents the city from EVER being able to AFFORD to do this kind of ILLEGAL STUPIDITY and intimidation again. There is NO excuse for this. That is NOT how AMERICA is supposed to operate. Just because we have a damned SOCIOPATH in the white house is NO excuse for everyone else to start acting like all bets are off. It’s STILL AMERICA here, damn it. We need to start ACTING like it.

    CAN EVERY ONE OF THESE COPS. Start with the CHIEF.

  2. Bored ashell on said:

    I’d like to know if they found anything. Might not be able to charge them but who says you can’t publish it.

  3. Will Morrison on said:

    Bored: they found nothing. This was a waste of time, money and manpower and was just A violation of people’s rights. If they HAD found something, it would still have been unusable, and publishing it isn’t quite appropriate either. Could actually lead to lawsuits. And SHOULD.

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