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The Monument Police Department has 16 full-time officers working 12-hour shifts. Police Chief Shirk said last week he’d eventually like to raise that amount to 20 officers.

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The town manager’s report for November said heroin is on the rise in Monument. Police Chief Jacob Shirk said Monument’s close distance to the highway makes the community accessible to drug traffickers.

“We are a major thoroughfare on the highway for drugs and narcotics that are being transported,” Shirk said. “And Monument seems to be an easy stop for them to either stop and take a rest break or conduct their business in our town.”

The report referenced a major narcotics stash that the Monument Police Department confiscated a few weeks ago. Detective Amanda Molnar was assigned to a drug task force to investigate the matter, according to the report.

“It’s the largest narcotics seizure that we’ve ever seen,” Shirk said.

These concerns come as Monument’s town employees are fine-tuning the 2019 budget. Shirk said the budget needs to include money for hiring new police officers. The police department currently has 16 full-time officers working 12-hour shifts. Shirk said he’d eventually like to raise that amount to 20 officers. Shirk said the 2019 budget will include money for new stun guns, rifles, bullet-proof shields, in-car computers and replacement vehicles.

The report also said the Monument Police Department is getting more calls related to social issues like panhandling, welfare checks, homelessness and mental illness. In most cases, Shirk said there’s little police officers can do to resolve these situations.

“It upsets the citizens when we show up and we can’t do anything,” he said. “The police department’s law enforcement in general has been the last bastion of hope for citizens. When they don’t know what else to do, they call us.”

Shirk said social issues, such as those involving suicidal individuals, are often too complex for an officer to resolve during a home visit. His officers simply aren’t trained to handle those social problems, he said.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the Colorado Crisis and Support Line at 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text “TALK” to 38255. Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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