July 22: This article has been updated to clarify that Hasler was fired three years after a report alleging problems in the Lone Tree Police Department was issued.
The Woodland Park Police Department got a new leader Monday. His hiring left some community members wondering how he would be different from the last chief of police.
Steve Hasler, a former police chief for the Lone Tree Police Department, was sworn in as interim chief in Woodland Park in a special meeting held by city council Monday.
Hasler was recommended for the position by the Colorado Association of Chief of Police. Woodland Park City Manager Michael Lawson said Hasler will help bring the police department together, which Lawson said is something Hasler has done for several police departments.
“We are confident that Interim Chief Hasler will bring strength and stability to our police department while we search for a permanent chief,” Lawson said. “Steve’s many successes are a direct reflection of his dedication, excellent leadership skills and commitment to community.”
Hasler served as chief of police in Elizabeth for around six years before he retired in 2020. Before that, he was the chief of the Lone Tree Police Department, which Woodland Park officials said he helped found.
But Hasler’s swearing-in came amid questions from the community about his past workplace conduct in Lone Tree.
In 2012, Hasler was fired by the Lone Tree city manager, which Hasler later contended was an act of retaliation.
The firing came three years after a report from an outside investigator found sexual discrimination and nepotism in the department allegedly fostered by Hasler, who was chief at the time.
That report and Hasler’s termination were covered in a Denver Post article at the time, which resurfaced after Woodland Park city officials announced Hasler’s new role.
In a Tuesday press release, city officials said they were “especially sensitive to the allegations made in the article, particularly around sexual harassment,” given circumstances surrounding the recent departure of the city’s previous police chief, Miles DeYoung, but that the statements made in the story were not substantiated or sufficiently followed up on.
“We have conducted thorough research of our own, and can confirm that allegations made in the article are simply untrue,” Lawson said.
City officials added that Hasler has consistently displayed integrity in over 40 years in law enforcement.
In his interim role, Hasler is stepping in for DeYoung, who resigned July 1 after a third-party investigator looking into workplace misconduct allegations aimed at DeYoung found that the police department would only benefit from the then-chief’s termination.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org