Uninsured Officers Forced to Walk

United Press International

Police officers were walking their beats in Colfax on Wednesday instead of driving because a lapsed liability insurance policy spurred the City Council to order all city vehicles grounded.

Mayor Norman Ruestow said today he was "continually praying" that insurance could be quickly obtained and that mischief-makers would not cause trouble while police and fire units are idle.

He said state Department of Forestry fire crews and the Placer County Sheriff's Department are prepared to provide emergency assistance to the Sierra Nevada foothill community of 1,000 residents northeast of Sacramento.

"Every crook knows we don't have a police car on the road," Ruestow said. "Being a praying individual, I have been continually praying that nothing's going to happen."

The council grounded the city's vehicles Tuesday night at an emergency meeting called by Mayor Pro Tem Mike Talso, who said the city recently learned that its auto policy with Hartford Insurance Co. expired a month ago.

He said the discovery was made after a city employee backed a dump truck into a resident's car and caused minor damage.

Ruestow said Hartford Insurance has refused to renew the city's policy and that the community has not been able to find another insurer.

"We thought we were OK, but obviously we were mistaken," Talso said.

City Clerk Betty Delgado told the council she had been in touch with five insurance brokers and all of them said they doubted they could provide coverage.

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