Monticello police chief fired in wake of 911 call controversy

Monticello police chief fired in wake of 911 call controversy (Photo: Daniel Woodruff / KUTV)

(KUTV) The Monticello police chief has lost his job after an investigation into his handling of a 911 call.

After meeting in closed session, the city council voted 5 to 0 Tuesday to fire Kent Adair immediately and pay him a severance package through the end of March.

Adair declined to comment as he left the council meeting late Tuesday night.

"It's time for a new start for us," said Monticello Mayor Tim Young.

Adair was placed on leave last month after questions surfaced surrounding his response to a 911 call involving one of his own officers.

That call was placed on Dec. 2 by the estranged wife of Cole Young, who was a sergeant in the Monticello Police Department at the time. The woman reported Young, 36, had just broken into her home, assaulted a man there, and was driving drunk.

The dispatcher who answered the call promised to send an officer over, but it ended up taking until the next morning -- ten hours later -- for someone to respond.

RELATED: San Juan Co. sheriff recommends firing dispatcher, demoting sergeant over 911 call

Instead, the dispatcher called around to various officers who declined to respond to the call. She ended up calling Monticello Police Chief Kent Adair to explain the situation and, at one point, laughed about the call with him.

The two agreed the call would be handled the next morning.

During that time, Young's wife told 2News, she and her male friend were terrified. After police failed to show up, the two were worried Young would come back and hid in the mountains, she said.

A San Juan County Sheriff's officer ended up responding the next day around 10 a.m. to investigate the call. Cole Young was booked into jail three hours later. He appeared in court last week on a felony charge of aggravated burglary and a misdemeanor charge of assault.

City leaders said firing Adair comes after a long history -- not just this controversy.

"We've had problems with calls," said city councilman George Rice. "It's just been kind of a pattern that's happened."

"I think it was just a sentiment that the council is ready to start over the police department here in Monticello," added Mayor Young.

But even though the vote to fire Adair was unanimous, no one took a victory lap.

"Many of us have personal relationships with Chief Adair," Mayor Young said. "I consider him a close friend of mine."

The city will now have to rebuild its small three-person police department and its perception with a skeptical public.

"What I would like to see is someone with some leadership, someone that will give the residents of this town the law enforcement that they expect and deserve," said Rice.

Separately, a San Juan County sheriff's officer has been demoted for not responding to that 911 call. Sheriff Rick Eldredge is also recommending the dispatcher who took the call be fired, according to multiple sources.

Monticello Police Officer Avery Olsen has received a written warning for violating code of conduct by using off-color language in discussing the 911 call that night, according to city manager Ty Bailey.

Follow Daniel Woodruff on Twitter @danielmwoodruff for breaking news, updates and more.

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