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A Police Chief Speeds Into Retirement

The Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, is a 17-mile drive from Denver. The historic venue is famous for hosting the Beatles in one of their first performances in the United States. Its iconic status has drawn fans from around the country.

George Mumma was the Morrison police chief until recently. Throughout his tenure, his department has likely racked up countless speeding tickets and other traffic violations for residents and tourists coming to the famed amphitheater.

A common assumption about law enforcement is that they pull people over to fill a “quota,” citing them for traffic violations to generate revenue. Police officers and their leaders scoff at the notion. Yet, a lack of money due to coronavirus keeping people away cost the 64-year-old, now former chief of police, his job after two and a half years.

It was a retirement that came earlier than Mumma planned.

A Dispute Leads to a Dismissal

Mr. Mumma confesses that practically all “criminal activity” in Morrison occurs at speed traps. Upon taking the job, he wanted to make some changes in how his officers issued traffic tickets, not to mention public perceptions and misconceptions. That resulted in fewer citations that slowed the revenue stream coming from fines.

According to Mumma, Kara Winters, the town manager, saw things differently and wanted an uptick in speeding tickets. A memo revealed disagreements between the two. While it mentioned the need for officers to wear face masks, it also requested more “effective” control of speeding and vehicle noise throughout Morrison.

Once the pandemic hit Colorado, large concerts at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre with thousands of people in attendance were unworkable in an era of social distancing and other preventative measures.

No concerts. No traffic. No tickets.

And, no job for now-retired police chief George Mumma who worked to improve the image of his fellow officers and how they dealt with controversial speed traps.

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