May 302012

By Naomi Hatch —

Snowflake-Taylor Police Chief Jerry VanWinkle reported at the May 22 Snowflake Town Council meeting that his department received an allocation of $10,000 in Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) funds that can be used for law enforcement purposes.

The chief explained that RICO funds are generated by law enforcement activities conducted by the Navajo County Major Crimes Apprehension Team (MCAT) Task Force that result in asset forfeiture proceeds that are deposited into the county RICO funds and distributed to participating departments.

RICO funds can be used toward the purchase of services to develop, update and maintain police policy and procedure.

Chief VanWinkle asked the council to approve purchasing services from Lexipol, a company that specializes in writing law enforcement policy and procedure. He explained that the first year cost of services is $5,950, and subsequent years would be $2,450 for policy manual updates and $2,000 for daily training bulletins, which would be optional. He noted that this is a valid and much needed component for his department, and that most officers would complete training within the two-year period.

“This would help with liability,” said Councilman Larry Matyas. “This is going to make our officers exceptional officers, which we want.”

“It helps in a relatively efficient way,” said Town Attorney Robert Hall regarding liability issues.

“Apparently, Chief, you think this is the best use of the money. I would trust your feelings there,” said Mayor Kelly Willis, who then called for a motion. Matyas moved to approve the chief’s request, and his motion passed unanimously.