Public comments at Riverton City Council include open City Administrator position, neighborhood watch program

    (Riverton, WY) Community safety and selection process of a new City Administrator were the subject matter as two Riverton residents came forward to speak in the public comment section at last night’s Riverton City Council meeting.

    Chesie Lee, co-chairperson of the Riverton Peace Mission, first addressed the council about the annual Riverton Peace March & Rally that will take place the morning of Saturday, August 6, gathering at Centennial Park, continuing on the sidewalks of Main Street towards Riverton City Park.

    “There will be speakers and music,” she said, “there will also be an open mic, so anyone who wants to come and speak is welcome to come and do that.”


    The peace march was founded by Ron Howard to commemorate the 2015 shooting of two Northern Arapaho men at the Center of Hope. Information about the march can be found on the Riverton Peace Mission website and Facebook page.

    Chesie Lee, Riverton Peace Mission Co-Chairperson, addresses the City Council. h/t Carol Harper

    Lee continued her comments regarding the resignation of City Administrator Tony Tolstedt. “I am sorry to know he is leaving, but wish him well in his new position in Tennessee,” she said, stating that Tolstedt had met a few times with representatives of the Riverton Peace Mission to discuss a few issues of concern. “I appreciated his willingness to take time to listen.”

    Lee asked if there was a plan in the hiring process for Tolstedt’s replacement and suggested to the Council that they include Native Americans in the selection process and choose someone who has experience and qualifications since Riverton is a border town of the Wind River Indian Reservation. Lee’s suggestions included that the candidate have knowledge and understanding of tribal issues and empathy for indigenous people, the ability to address racial bias, discrimination, police accountability, and the ability to obtain resources and means for ongoing conflict resolution, “…such as restoring the Solutions Committee that was formed in 2013 and the Ombudsman position that was established in 2015 by the [then] Chief of Police in response to the shooting at the Center of Hope,” she said.

    Following Lee’s remarks was Karl Falken, who spoke about the National Night Out event and town watch program organized by the National Sheriff’s Association to help reduce crime in neighborhoods in partnership between the community and local law enforcement. He said that this would be the third year they will hold the National Night Out event scheduled for Tuesday, August 2 and that Riverton PD, Sheriff’s Department, and Wyoming State Troopers will be involved this year.

    Karl Falken addresses the Riverton City Council about National Night Out and the town watch program. h/t Carol Harper

    “What we do is we have a community picnic; we have games, we have activities, we invite vendors to come and also members of the community,” he said, “We try to provide information and opportunities for the community to build relationships with local law enforcement and other first responders.”

    Falken also referred to the city’s interest in establishing a town watch program. “This is a great way to let the community know about that,” he said. A venue for the National Night Out event has yet to be determined.

    Mayor Gard responded that another concerned citizen had scheduled a neighborhood watch meeting on July 14, which had been canceled. The meeting has been rescheduled for Thursday, July 28 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at City Hall. The mayor suggested that Falken attend that meeting, share his information and combine efforts at that time.


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