May 02

Rifle Police Department Citizen Academy Graduates Recognized at City Council Meeting

Posted on May 2, 2019 at 9:14 AM by Michael Churchill

The April 17th meeting of the Rifle City Council was awash in blue as many members of the Rifle Police Department were present to show their support for the 13 graduates of the most recent Citizen Academy. The class was composed of a wide range of citizens from high school students to retirees.

Chief Tommy Klein and Sgt. Kirk Wilson presented each graduate with a plaque and a certificate and thanked them for taking the time to learn more about police operations. One graduate, Jonathan Faustino, has plans to go into the Marine Corp and subsequently pursue a career in law enforcement. Chief Klein honored Faustino with a Rifle Police Department Challenge Coin which is ordinarily reserved for fellow police officers.

The RPD Citizen Academy is 2 hours per week for 8 weeks plus 4 hours one Saturday morning. The curriculum encompasses all aspects of law enforcement. For this session, numerous RPD officers, as well as Chief Michael Kite from Silt, helped teach the courses.

“Every class was interactive,” explained Sgt. Wilson who organized this term’s program. “Students got to see how heavy protective vests are, make shoe print castings and even climb into the BearCat SWAT vehicle.” 

The sessions give students an excellent opportunity to experience numerous aspects of what it takes to be an officer. Topics included evidence collection, utilizing canines, investigations and mental health issues. Participants got hands-on time doing such things as making shoe impression castings and dusting for fingerprints.

“I think the most important section was the use of force because of the modern imagery permeating media,” commented Sgt. Wilson. Students were placed in three different scenarios and were firing plastic ink bullets to simulate real-life situations. The stress of split-second decision making can’t be taught in a classroom.

If you missed this class and are interested in any aspect of the Rifle Police Department, two more sessions are in the works for 2019. The program is proving to be quite successful and the RPD actually has one officer, Shelby McNeal, who completed the program before applying to become an officer. The department is hoping to have one session in Spanish or possibly bilingual this summer followed by another one in English in the fall. 

For information on the Spanish class, please call Sgt. Carlos Cornejo at 970-665-6500. For the English classes, contact Sgt. Wilson at the same number. 

Rifle Rapport is a periodic article featuring the people and projects of the City of Rifle. If you have suggestions for future articles, please contact Kathy Pototsky at 970-665-6420 or


Apr 11

It’s Spring Clean-up Time!

Posted on April 11, 2019 at 10:51 AM by Michael Churchill

Attention City of Rifle residents! Here comes your chance to rid yourself of that clutter you have been tripping over for the past year. That pile of junk will be picked up by City crews right in front of your house. It’s the 12th Annual Spring Cleanup!

This event has been very successful in Rifle over the past several years. Nearly 450,000 pounds of trash was disposed of in 2018. This is almost 100,000 pounds more than 2017! 

Spring Cleanup is organized by Rifle Community Service Officer Sara Flores and carried out by an army of City employees from various departments. Since her job is Code Enforcement, Officer Flores is no stranger to finding illegal dump sites. 

“People would be surprised by how much trash we find on City open spaces and public lands. This event helps put a dent in that,” says Flores. This is your opportunity to have that hard to get rid of item picked up at your curb.

The collections will start April 22nd and run through May 2nd. Where you live determines the date of pickup. If you live EAST of Railroad Avenue and Highway 13, you will need to place your items curbside on Sunday night, April 21st. If you live WEST of Railroad Avenue and Highway 13 OR anywhere south of I-70, please have your items out Sunday night, April 28th. City crews will only make one trip through your neighborhood. Do not put items out more than 72 hours ahead of time.

You should be aware that there are some rules for placing items out for collection. The most important is no hazardous materials or electronics. So don’t put out your old computer and printer. Brush and tree limbs must be neatly stacked and tied. Further, absolutely no loose trash. Small trash items and leaves should be bagged.

According to Mike Altman, City of Rifle Operations and Maintenance Supervisor, “Everything has gone really well in past years. Putting stuff out there loose is the only problem we run into. We have to shovel it up or pick up individual pieces. Metal should also be separated out since it is disposed of at a different location.” So please be considerate of the men and women doing us this favor and make it as easy for them as possible.

People attempting to sidestep the rules also became an issue in 2018 and officers would like your help to curb this behavior. As Officer Flores explains, “We had a huge problem last year with people adding unacceptable items to other people’s piles. Please help by keeping watch for this. It is common for people to go take some items from piles and since they are piles of presumably unwanted items this isn’t necessarily an issue. However, if you see anyone adding to the pile who does not appear to be from the adjacent home, please call the non-emergent dispatch number immediately at 970-625-8095. Please try to supply us with a license plate number and description of the vehicle, suspects, location, and items being placed. If the opportunity arises to safely take photographs or videos, please do so.”

So how much stuff can you get rid of? The limit is less than 5 cubic yards per residence. To help residents put a visual on what constitutes 5 cubic yards, Altman says it’s 8’x 5’x 3.3’. 

There is also a big bonus for residents who act quickly. The Rifle Police Department will be handing out a very limited number of free TV disposal coupons you can take to the dump. These will be distributed on a first come, first served basis and are available Monday through Friday at the Police Department. There is a limit of one per household and you will need to bring proof of residency to receive a coupon.

So start rifling through your garage citizens of Rifle! It’s time to get rid of that broken high chair now that your youngest has just left for college. Most important, be respectful of City crews. This is a great service and well worth the 5-second delay you may experience when driving past. Perhaps you could even say “thank you” as you cross paths on your way to your now clutter-free home.

For more information, call 970-665-6525, check the City websites, Facebook or Twitter pages or pick up a flyer at the Rifle Police Department, 201 East 18th Street.

Rifle Rapport is a periodic article featuring the people and projects of the City of Rifle. If you have suggestions for future articles, please contact Kathy Pototsky at 970-665-6420 or

Feb 08

Stop! New Stop Signs Coming!

Posted on February 8, 2019 at 12:40 PM by Michael Churchill

There will soon be some significant changes for commuters who regularly drive along 16th Street here in Rifle. At the February 6th meeting of City Council, councilmembers voted unanimously to convert two major intersections into 4-way stops. The intersection of 16th and Whiteriver Avenue and the intersection of 16th and Birch will soon require drivers approaching from any direction to come to a complete stop before proceeding. 

The measure, put forth by Councilman Joe Elliott, was the result of input from City staff and citizens regarding the safety for both drivers and pedestrians and the congestion that occurs in those two areas. 

During Council workshop that evening, discussion centered on what was referred to as “rush hour”, the time before and after school where the students and staff are all heading to class. It was noted that the backups on 16th Street get extensive due, in part, to what was referred to as “hesitation traffic” where drivers coming down the hill on 16th Street heading west are reluctant to enter the intersection at Whiteriver due to difficult visibility.

 “This will allow people to enter the intersections with confidence that [opposing traffic] will stop,” stated Elliott. “It will improve safety and traffic flows.” 

Rifle citizen Melissa Burrows is an advocate for stop signs at these two intersections. Her drive to work entails going through both intersections every day.

“These intersections are complicated for adult drivers, not to mention our young drivers. This solution will help with everyone’s morning commute creating safer intersections and less congestion. Traffic will run more smoothly.”

According to Rifle City Planner Nathan Lindquist, at least two new residential developments are being added to the area around the 16th and Birch intersection. This increase in population will result in a significant uptick in traffic which also poses a greater risk for pedestrians. Students who take the school bus in the morning are picked up in the parking lot of the Mormon Church which is across 16th Street from the large residential area. As a result, students must cross 16th Street with no pedestrian crossing or stop sign to get to the bus. In the winter, this is often in the dark on icy roads.

There is similar concern for the 16th and Whiteriver area since the City Skate Park is located right near that corner. Children utilizing this amenity are a near constant.

 on weather conditions. Director of Public Works Brian Prunty and Chief of Police Tommy Klein want to assure citizens that there will be plenty of advance notice. Informational signs and flags will be posted in the weeks preceding the change. Electronic signs are already in place informing travelers on both north and southbound Whiteriver of the future 4-way stop.

 Updates on the progress of the project can be found on the City website,, and on the City Facebook and Twitter pages.  

16th and Whiteriver16th and Birch