NEW CASTLE — Town employees and residents were reeling in shock Saturday afternoon after learning about the unexpected death of New Castle Police Chief Chris Sadler.
Sadler, 52, of Rifle, was transported to Grand River Medical Center around noon, where he was pronounced dead, according to acting Police Chief Tony Pagni.
“Apparently, he wasn’t feeling well all week and had gone to see a doctor,” said New Castle Councilor Bruce Leland, who was informed of Sadler’s death by Town Administrator Tom Baker. “He collapsed today and they were unable to stabilize him. It was presumed to be a heart attack, but nothing has been confirmed yet — nobody knows much.”
Mayor Frank Breslin said he was shocked and recalled what a good chief Sadler had been for the town.
“Everybody loved Chris — all the staff was very respectful of him,” Breslin said. “He held his staff to the highest standards and he started a program of community-oriented policing.”
Breslin said Sadler required each of his officers to spend at least one hour of foot patrol on each shift so that they could interact with the community. He also brought in experts to talk to his staff about building good relationships in the community, while at the same time maintaining a high level of service and protection to the community.
“He was an honorable man,” Breslin said.
Sadler also took it upon himself during the Farmer’s Market the last two years to be there to direct traffic and personally help people cross the street.
“And he interacted with the Cub Scouts and went to the schools where he tried to promote safety with the kids,” Breslin said. “This is a shock. I’m still reeling in shock.”
According to a Facebook post by John Harcourt of New Castle, the Cub Scouts were saddened to hear the news and held a moment of silence in Sadler’s honor at Saturday’s Blue and Gold Banquet.
Leland described Sadler as someone who always made those around him feel special.
“He had that easy way about him and it always felt to me that I was special,” Leland said. “But he probably made all of us feel like we had a special relationship with him.”
Sadler had been on the New Castle Police Department for the past 18 years, according to Pagni. He started out as a patrol officer and was the chief for the majority of those years.
Survivors include his wife, Marina; his son, Jake; and his mother, Lorraine, of Parachute.
Pagni will be setting up a memorial fund at Alpine Bank on Monday. The family will announce the funeral arrangements at a later date and the town will also hold a memorial service.