FOUNTAIN, Colo. — As the Fountain community continues to grow, the city’s police chief is announcing plans to improve Fountain’s public safety and response times.
Population growth is expected
In a letter, Chief Chris Heberer explains that city leaders expect to see 40% more residential homes coming to the city, which is equal to about 17,000-23,000 more people than the city has now.
“The City of Colorado Springs wants to annex everything just east of the Fountain border along Marksheffel Road and along Link Road, bringing approximately 8,000 more homes and another 24,000 people,” Herberer wrote. “That is a grand total of approximately 50,000 people moving to this area in the next 5-8 years. These numbers should be concerning to everyone that lives in Fountain.”
Increased crime rates
Due to the expected population growth, city officials are preparing for increased crime as more people use Fountain’s roads, businesses, parks, and other areas. Not only are city officials preparing, they are also urging current businesses to do the same.
“All these entities and everything in between will need to expand their resources with public safety being a top priority,” Heberer wrote. “Everyone wants to live in a safe community and your police and fire departments play an integral part in that safety; we strive to keep our streets/roadways, parks, businesses and homes safe around the clock.”
Increased traffic accidents
Not only does Heberer expect increased crime, but also increased traffic accidents.
“This will lead to much heavier use of our roadways, in turn leading to more traffic accidents. Not to mention maintaining the roads now is difficult with current traffic volume, it will only get worse if we don’t address problem that is about to be on our doorstep.”
According to Heberer, crime rates will continue to increase for several reasons including Colorado laws that “are becoming less severe” and as drug offenses are “being decriminalized and certain crimes are no longer jailable offenses.”
Heberer provided the following example:
An example of this is a previously convicted felon that was in possession of a gun (POWPO) would be arrested and placed in jail. Now, unless the person was convicted of a victim rights crime, or “violent offense” and was in possession of a gun, they are no longer brought to jail, rather issued a summons, and released back into the community. There are many other examples of police not being able to arrest the person and have to give them a ticket. We continue to face many bad legislative bills from our state legislature that is more focused on Denver and Boulder than small communities around the state and our citizens will continue to pay that price.Chief Chris Heberer
Longer emergency response times
Heberer also expressed concern regarding emergency personnel’s response time. According to the chief, police currently respond to calls within five minutes, which is six minutes below the national average response time of seven minutes. However, with the expected population growth, Heberer expects it to become difficult to maintain the department’s current time.
“With current staffing resources, it is our opinion we are just keeping up with the calls. That will be impossible to maintain if we do not act now as a community and a city. The time is now to increase resources in this city before we are unable to recover.”
Call to actions
Heberer concludes his letter by calling for the community’s assistance to do the following:
- Advocate for the immediate start of construction on a fourth fire station on the east side of the city
- Get involved with local /state elected officials and make sure your voice gets heard as part of the democratic process
- Visit the local police and fire stations with thoughts, ideas, questions, and concerns
“This message should not be viewed as doom and gloom but rather a call to action for this community to get involved and have a voice when it comes to city resources, and how we plan to increase them with the increase in population by working together.”
You can read Heberer’s full letter below.