Petersen steps into ordinance officer slot in Nyssa

By Pat Caldwell

The Enterprise

NYSSA – Colin Petersen’s gig as the new Nyssa city ordinance officer may be a part-time job but he puts a full-time focus on his new responsibilities.

Petersen stepped into the slot last month after the former ordinance officer, Jim Maret, was named Nyssa’s city manager.

Petersen, who is also a Nyssa Police Department reserve officer, said the job appealed to him because of its variety.

“Instead of just doing traffic stops, this lets me get to know people,” said Petersen. “I’m out and about every day and nothing is the same.”

Petersen, 25, worked at the Owyhee Irrigation District and attended college before he stepped into the ordinance officer job. Now, he said his goal is to become a full-time police officer, hopefully in Nyssa.

Petersen, who lived in Grant County until his family moved to Nyssa when he was in middle school, said the obligations of his job are straightforward.

“You look for tall grass, trash that isn’t picked up, illegal burning, dogs running at large or cars parked on the street with expired licenses,” he said.

Petersen said that when he finds a city ordinance violation, he gives a warning. If the problem isn’t fixed within 14 days he is authorized issue a citation that draws a $260 price tag.

He finds he usually doesn’t have to issue a ticket.

By far the largest number of complaints revolve around weeds that grow too high around houses, at-large dogs and piles of trash left unattended. The city ordinance book, Petersen said, is a thick one.

“I have a cheat sheet in the car for the main ones I deal with and I drive around and look for a violation. When I find, them I jot down the address and if it looks like someone is there I go knock on the door,” he said.

Otherwise he leaves a notice and moves on.

Petersen also holds down a full-time job with O’Reilly Auto Parts in Boise. That job and his work as the ordinance officer complement each other said Petersen.

“Both are a lot of the same in terms of customer service,” said Petersen.

Petersen said homeowners must do only a few things to stay on the right side of the city ordinance line.

“They just need to keep up on their properties. Keep the grass cut and make sure you are not storing garbage,” he said.

Petersen said he likes living in Nyssa.

“It is small. I don’t like big towns. Here everyone knows everybody. People can’t get away with much here,” he said with a laugh.