Mike McKibbin

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September 12, 2012
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Ceremony marks new chapter for RPD

"Detail, attention!"

With that command, Rifle's police force rose to their feet and stood tall and straight, dressed in full uniforms.

In front of the officers, Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, Silt Police Chief Levy Burris, city staff, residents and others, John Dyer was sworn in as the city's second police chief in more than two decades at the Sept. 5 City Council meeting.

The military-like change of command ceremony was the idea of former chief Daryl Meisner, who retired from the department after 39 years as an officer, the last 22 as chief.

Dyer was hired to succeed him and is a 28-year law enforcement veteran, most recently as a patrol commander with the Oak Harbor, Wash., Police Department.

After Dyer repeated the oath of office given by City Clerk Lisa Cain - with the help of a written copy - Dyer's daughter, Kim Barker, pinned his chief's bars on his shirt as his wife, Peggy, stood by his side.

"Present arms" was the next command and every officer, still at attention, saluted Dyer.

Meisner then presented the department's unit flag to Dyer as a symbol of his leadership. Unit flags are common in most branches of the U.S. military and other organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America.

"To the officers and staff of the Rifle Police Department, I want to say it's been a pleasure to lead you as chief," Meisner said. "To Chief Dyer, I am assured you will continue to lead the department in a positive direction for the benefit of the community."

Dyer accepted the flag and complimented Meisner.

"This flag will continue to represent the highest level of protection and commitment that you've demonstrated," Dyer said to Meisner in the crowded City Council chambers.

"Dispatch, 401," Meisner then said into his radio link to the county emergency communications center. "Chief Meisner, off duty."

The dispatcher thanked Meisner for his years of service, and Dyer took the police radio from Meisner.

"Dispatch, 401," Dyer said into the microphone. "Chief Dyer, on duty."

"Welcome to the Rifle Police Department, 401," the dispatcher said, using Dyer's new identification number.

"Order, arms," came the order and each officer released their salute.

"Detail, dismissed."

With that, Meisner exited the room after shaking Dyer's hand. Dyer then shook the hand of each officer as they followed out the door.

Two days later, Dyer said the ceremony was rehearsed only once, shortly before it happened.

"You don't usually see those, outside of the military," Dyer added. "I was very impressed."

The unit flag represents "tradition and cohesion," Dyer said.

Along with his wife and daughter, Dyer's mother-in-law witnessed the ceremony.

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The Post Independent Updated Sep 12, 2012 05:42PM Published Sep 12, 2012 05:38PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.