COS Public Servants Privately Refer to Planned Police Academy as “Quantico West”

Mayor Yemi Mobolade held a Colorado Springs Leadership Retreat on August 11th at El Pomar House. The mayor, city council members, and the mayor’s leadership staff all attended the retreat. We were curious about what was discussed and filed a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request to get the scoop.   

Private consultant Tamara Moore was hired to facilitate the August 11th retreat. Her company, Re-Level, quoted the city a cost of $4,000 to prepare for and facilitate the single-day event.

Mayor and city council retreats are not a new thing. Former Mayor Suthers held retreats, too. According to some of the city emails, Suthers had a different format for retreats. He’d have department heads come in and brief him and the city council. Suther’s retreats were a way for all departments and city council members to stay up-to-date on what was happening throughout city government.

That wasn’t the case with Mayor Mobolade’s retreat. The three main topics discussed were public safety, annexations, and mental health. Councilman Brian Risley was involved in the annexation topic. Councilman David Leinweber made a presentation about mental health issues.

Prior to the retreat, Moore’s company sent out a survey to these 20 public servants:

Councilmember Dave Donelson, Councilmember Randy Helms, Councilmember Michelle Talarico, Councilmember Yolanda Avila, Councilmember Nancy Henjum, Councilmember Mike O’Malley, Councilmember Lynette Crow-Iverson, Councilmember Brian Risley, Councilmember David Leinweber, City Council Administrator Emily Evans, Deputy City Council Administrator Michael Montgomery, Mayor Yemi Mobolade, Chief of Staff Jamie Fabos, Chief of Staff Travis Easton, Deputy Chief of Staff Ryan Trujillo, Chief of Police Adrian Vasquez, Fire Chief Randy Royal, City Attorney Wynetta Massey, Chief Financial Officer Charae McDaniel, & Chief Communications Officer Vanessa Zink

Two of the survey questions we noted were related to public safety. They are especially relevant to the next election. Mayor Mobolade and city council members are asking you to part with your $4.75 million TABOR refund for a police academy. It’s ballot issue 2A. That amount is only a small portion of the cost, though. Colorado Springs taxpayers may pay as much as $45 million for the facility. Public servants haven’t shared plans for the police academy building at this point. Below are the two questions and your public servants’ unedited responses: 

As we think about how we might work to positively improve Public Safety Response and the Community Care Response, what is currently missing? What do we need to think about lobbying for, funding and/or adding?

RESPONSES:

  • Education
  • Add police officers
  • Major sports team
  • MONEY
  • For any problem just call 911…
  • Better collaboration with our non-profits
  • As operational funds have increased what operations have increased
  • Civic engagement and understanding
  • What are we asking police to do that could be done by other non-sworn responders/systems?
  • 100ish officers
  • Community assistance to recruit
  • Public trust
  • What other funding options are there to address lack of available and sustainable funding
  • “Missing middle” housing
  • Mental Health Facility
  • Educating the public to appreciate the police
  • Love of Country
  • Realistic expectations
  • Community policing
  • Police training facility… Quantico West
  • Police “walking” the neighborhoods
  • More community education to impact of lack of proper funding
  • Changing FD model for responding to non-emergency/minor incidents
  • Appropriate response to homeless – mentally ill and addicted
  • Use the Colorado Springs Health Foundation funds to pay for a new Quantico West and a new Center for Mental Health excellence. Requires 7 City Councilmembers and the Mayor.
  • We have maintained the character of our current neighborhoods. We haven’t damaged them with too much density.

What are high-ease, high-impact IDEAS we should consider regarding the COMMUNITY CARE response?

RESPONSES:

  • Mental Health funding
  • Participate in ride along and job shadowing
  • Complete IGA with El Paso Co on homeless camp cleanup
  • Pursue more grant opportunities to fund programs
  • Legislative work to increase long term care funding for mental health and substance abuse
  • treatment and recovery
  • Better story telling around what we are already doing
  • Engage all community care providers (gov, non-profit, faith, etc.) to align and reduce duplicity
  • Create a mental health crisis guide to help citizens find the correct help when needed
  • Come up with a better way to explain the many CARE services to the community
  • Use Colorado Springs Health Foundation funds to build Quantico West and a Mental Health Center for excellence. Requires 7 City Council Members and the Mayor to make it happen.
  • Add bright lighting to trail tunnels under streets and Highways
  • Revive Crime Stoppers & Neighborhood Watch
  • Engage ReadyCOS

Some of the survey responses are puzzling, however, there are three responses that refer to the potential new police academy as “Quantico West” which is just plain alarming! Quantico is the location of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) training program, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) training facility, and a Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia. There is imagery that comes to mind when one hears the word, “Quantico.” It’s a massive facility, as well as a place where the government has implemented programs to spy on citizens’ electronic communications. Quantico houses the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI), Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Defense Security Service (DSS), as well as many other agencies.

We filed another CORA request and asked for all documents that mention the word “Quantico.” Nothing turned up in emails. The city isn’t parting with information or making it easy for us to find more information. Are we to believe that those survey responses were the first and only time any of the public servants called the police academy “Quantico West?” Where is the transparency we were promised when Mayor Mobolade campaigned? He’s been far from transparent with the public.

Why would public servants privately be referring to a new Colorado Springs police academy as “Quantico West?” Do public servants intend to create a military-grade training facility in Colorado Springs, using your tax dollars? Will a police academy be a joint effort with other agencies? We’ll watch what happens, as it develops.

We encourage readers to reach out and ask Mayor Mobolade and the council what the plans are for the police training academy. They’ve kept you in the dark up to this point. Ask them why it’s privately being called Quantico West. You deserve to know what’s going on before you vote to keep or give up your tax dollars.

Mayor Yemi Mobolade  yemi.mobolade@coloradosprings.gov

Yolanda Avila  Yolanda.Avila@coloradosprings.gov

Lynette Crow-Iverson   lynette.crow-iverson@coloradosprings.gov

Dave Donelson   Dave.Donelson@coloradosprings.gov

Randy Helms   Randy.Helms@coloradosprings.gov

Nancy Henjum   Nancy.Henjum@coloradosprings.gov

David Leinweber   david.leinweber@coloradosprings.gov

Mike O’Malley   Mike.OMalley@coloradosprings.gov

Brian Risley    brian.risley@coloradosprings.gov

Michelle Talarico   michelle.talarico@coloradosprings.gov

One thought on “COS Public Servants Privately Refer to Planned Police Academy as “Quantico West”

  1. Asking the city to give a honest answer is like asking biden will he leave he’s office before the end of the month . Ahhh no answer . We the people of Colorado Springs need a new city government now asap . The communist control that is in charge now is way oit of hand .

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