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New deputy in Mancos Marshal’s Office

Also: Board approves protocol for officer-involved shooting situations
Angelita Topaha is sworn in as a new Mancos Marshal’s Office deputy by Mayor Queenie Barz at the Jan. 8 Town Board meeting.

The Mancos Marshal’s Office is now staffed by five officials, with the fifth and final deputy sworn in last week.

Angelita Topaha was sworn in at the Mancos Town Board meeting Jan. 8. She previously served in the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office.

“I’m really excited, I’m going to be learning a lot from some really good officers,” Topaha said.

Her family joined her for the swearing-in.

“Thank you to her family for coming,” Mayor Queenie Barz said. “We appreciate that. And know that we’re here to support her in any way possible.”

Topaha joins Marshal Justen Goodall, Sgt. Brad Ray, Deputy Jared Farnsworth, and Deputy Michael Morris also in the department. Farnsworth is focusing on code enforcement, bringing buildings and neighborhoods into compliance with town regulations, and “educating and enforcing the Code of Ordinances to ensure that our town ages gracefully,” according to a statement posted on the town’s website.

“As long as people are making reasonable strides to correct violations, they should be fine, but failure to comply with Town Codes will ultimately lead to citations,” Farnsworth said in the statement.

Also at last Wednesday’s meeting, the Town Board unanimously authorized Marshal Goodall to sign an investigation protocol in case of an officer-involved shooting involving the Mancos Marshal’s Office.

The purpose of the protocol is to allow outside agencies to investigate such an incident, should it arise, according to Goodall. The investigating team would include representatives from multiple regional agencies, including Colorado State Patrol, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Cortez Police Department, and the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office.

“You never know when an officer-involved shooting will happen, or any jurisdiction that it could happen in,” Goodall said. “So there’s somebody from all the agencies involved in it.”

Mancos doesn’t currently have somebody certified to join the team, he said. The protocol would apply to all instances in which deadly force is involved – in which “significant bodily harm” is inflicted by an officer.

“A (Mancos Marshal’s Office) representative is present during the (Officer Involved Shooting)investigation but does not collect or retain evidence,” he wrote in a staff report.

He did not specifically share the agreement, saying it contained confidential information.

“The information in the agreement is how the investigation is handled by the investigative team,” he told The Journal. “This information needs to be given out during the investigation by the Public Information Officer in the jurisdiction the incident occurred in per that jurisdiction’s policies.”


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