COVID Diaries: A trusted source in their own language
Editor’s note: This is one of three vignettes highlighting individual Garfield County residents as part of the statewide COVID Diaries project.
Rifle Police Sgt. Carlos Cornejo paced the halls of the station with a stack of paperwork that needed to be done.
Dressed from head to toe in dark blue, Cornejo paused for a moment as he monitored the radio traffic through the earpiece he wears.
Along with the sworn duties of all law enforcement officers, Cornejo supervised on-duty patrol officers and handled administrative work during his 12-hour shift April 16.
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With the COVID-19 pandemic taking hold of the small Western Slope community, Cornejo’s duties continue to evolve as he prepares his officers for the frontline each day.
“I’m a patrol supervisor and there has been a lot of information that comes down that I have to give out to my officers, and the information keeps changing constantly. In the morning this is what we are doing, in the afternoon this is not what we are doing. The next day it is different,” Cornejo said.
With a goal to provide Rifle’s Spanish-speaking community with vital information, Cornejo spent the early afternoon putting the finishing touches on informational videos in Spanish he worked on with the city.
As a voice for local law enforcement, Cornejo provides content on social media for Spanish-speaking residents so they can stay informed and safe.
But it’s not all office work, even in the midst of a global pandemic. Toward the end of his shift, Cornejo responded to back up his fellow officers at a late-night domestic violence call involving a combative suspect. Cornejo and the officers on scene successfully de-escalated the situation. Afterward, Cornejo reflected on the call and spoke about his greatest worry right now — not getting sick himself, but getting his family sick.
“(Law enforcement officers) come to work and we are at risk for something. What concerns me is my children — am I going to give something that is going to hurt them,” Cornejo said.
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