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Brighton signs victims services pact with Commerce City

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — Brighton and Commerce City’s police departments will be teaming up to provide better services for crime victims.

During a special council meeting May 27, Brighton City Council unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement with Commerce City to create a joint victim services unit.  

According to the agreement, the unit will be administered through Brighton and supervised by Victim Services Coordinator Kim Messina. The unit will consist of Brighton’s full-time victim advocate specialist and Commerce City’s two full-time victim advocates. 

Brighton will also be seeking grant funding for two additional full-time victim advocates to join the unit. The city’s existing volunteer victim advocates will be used to fill in and follow up for staff when needed. 

“It really will benefit Commerce City more but for us, it will just be additional victim service advocates that can help both our community and Commerce City,” said Brighton city spokeswoman Kristen Chernosky about the IGA. 

Chernosky said there’s no additional cost to the city this year but that it will be looked at during the city’s budget planning for next year. She said Commerce City will be absorbing the additional cost for this year by contributing $5,503 toward Messina’s salary. She said from there, each city will be responsible for paying for their own employees. 

The IGA is part of a community policing effort the police departments are engaging in to provide better services to the residents of Brighton and Commerce City. The Brighton Police Department is willing to pool resources and create a victim services unit with Commerce City and in return Commerce City is willing to collaborate to expand its SWAT Team with Brighton. 

Police Chief Clint Blackhurst said the Commerce City Police Department has yet to submit the IGA to its city council and that he anticipates it will be approved in the next couple of weeks. He said the Brighton  Police Department is already doing training and scheduling with Commerce City Police Department staff and believes joint policing efforts will begin around Aug. 1.

In other business, council unanimously approved a change to a project that will make restrooms in city hall complaint with the American Disabilities Act. Leftover funds from Community Development Block Grants will allow the city to put more funds into the project that will increase the longevity of the restroom walls and enhance the aesthetics of the restrooms that were not included in the original bid process. The cost of the project will increase by $78,000 but it will still be paid for with grant funding.