There Is A New Marshal In Star Valley

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There is a new marshal in Star Valley, but he won't be riding into town wearing a 10-gallon hat or cowboy boots.

Dick Baranzini, who has been the full-time photo enforcement officer for Star Valley since March, was appointed marshal Wednesday morning after the town council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to hire a marshal.

"I have been looking forward to becoming marshal for a long time," Baranzini said.

As marshal, Baranzini will be the chief of police and responsible for duties of code enforcement and photo enforcement officer.

Baranzini, who worked 33 years for the King County sheriff in Washington with almost seven years as the Sammamish police chief, would like to be more proactive in preventing crime with routine patrols and neighborhood watches.

Providing good customer service to the residents with timely responses to inquiries about tickets or code enforcement complaints is also a priority, he said.

Town Manager Vito Tedeschi said with the uncertainty of extending a contract with the town of Payson police, this new position is the start of Star Valley's own police force.

The possibility of starting a police force is, "very appealing" to Baranzini, who said a police force shows a town exists and is on the map.

"The police department is a very real symbol of the existence and sovereignty of any government entity," he said.

As Star Valley grows, there is the possibility the community can get its own police force and not have to contract out to another town, said Darrell Stubbs, candidate for Gila County Sheriff.

"I think it is a good idea they get a marshal," Stubbs said. "It will be good for the town."

Along with authorizing the new position, the council voted unanimously to purchase a vehicle for the marshal. A 2009 Ford Explorer XLT with police package or equivalent will be purchased costing under $26,300.

The council also approved creating a new employment classification of deputy town clerk. Stephanie Jones, the current executive assistant, will occupy the new position.

"I am really excited to get this new position, and can now go for my clerk certification," Jones said.

Tedeschi said the new position was needed because Jones' duties had expanded and she was performing duties of the town clerk such as taking committee meeting minutes.

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