Quarles out as Palisade police chief
Longtime Palisade Police Chief Carroll Quarles was no longer employed as of Oct. 24, while Palisade’s police department will be headed over the coming months by a high-ranking Grand Junction police officer, officials said Tuesday.
Town Administrator Rich Sales said he told Quarles in a meeting Oct. 24 he was out of the position he’s held for 17 years. Sales declined to discuss reasons, saying it’s a town personnel matter. When asked if Quarles was fired, Sales said, “He has a choice. He’s been offered a resignation. We hope the citizens of Palisade will appreciate the years of service to the town and thank him.”
Quarles, 60, confirmed his departure and, like Sales, picked his words carefully.
“It became clear my services were no longer required,” he told The Daily Sentinel. “I have thoroughly enjoyed the amount of progress made in making Palisade a safe community and enjoyed the citizens, for the most part. I’m going to miss certain aspects of the job but my plans now are to unwind.”
Quarles said he’s worked his last law enforcement job.
Sales said he will act as police chief through this week but anticipates handing over the department to Grand Junction Police Department Cmdr. Mike Nordine, who heads Grand Junction’s investigations division. Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper said an agreement for services with Palisade was expected to be done in the coming days.
Nordine is expected to start Monday as interim chief in Palisade, Sales said. He said Palisade is writing a job description for its next chief of police.
“Clearly at least we’ll have a statewide hiring process,” he said.
Quarles was the Grand Valley’s longest tenured law enforcement agency head, hired in Palisade in January 1995 from Jackson Hole, Wyo. He worked in Texas prior to that.
TOWN TRUSTEES IN DARK
Palisade town trustees reached for comment said they were clueless about the reasons behind Quarles’ departure but said Sales told them about it late last week.
Mayor Roger Granat said Quarles had expressed to him roughly six months ago he was contemplating retirement.
Granat was serving on the town board in 1995 when Quarles was hired.
“He (Quarles) inherited a lot of problems and he’s done an excellent job as far as I can see,” Granat said.
Quarles’ more recent years included one high-profile department embarrassment. The agency was criticized in the wake of the Aug. 20, 2011, failed attempt to rob the former Palisades National Bank, which saw a Palisade police officer disarmed at gunpoint inside the bank by one of the suspects, all of whom eluded capture.
“For the seriousness of the mistakes that were made, this could not have turned out any better: Nobody was hurt, no money was stolen and the only thing damaged here is the pride of the officer and the reputation of the police department,” Quarles told the Sentinel months later.
GJ WILL PAY INTERIM CHIEF
Camper said Grand Junction will continue to pay Nordine’s annual salary of $97,752 while he’s working as interim Palisade police chief. Camper said a contract between Grand Junction and Palisade will specify Nordine’s interim job will cease by the end of April, although he may return sooner depending on when Palisade’s new permanent hire happens.
That’s money well spent, despite Nordine’s work elsewhere, the chief said.
“It’s a fairly short duration and we’re talking about a neighboring police department with whom we have a close relationship,” Camper said. “They are in need of our services and we feel it’s appropriate to assist them.”
“We feel confident they would do that for us if roles were reversed,” he added.
The agreement will specify Palisade will pay the difference in salary if Grand Junction promotes a current officer to fill Nordine’s job on a temporary basis, Camper said.
The pending deal between Grand Junction and Palisade should look familiar to taxpayers.
At the time a division chief with the Lakewood Police Department, the city of Lakewood continued to pay Camper’s salary for approximately six months after Camper was named interim chief of police in Grand Junction in August 2009. Camper was hired for the permanent job in February 2010.
Nordine has indicated he’s not interested in the full-time chief’s job in Palisade, Camper said.