Locals show support for law officers at National Night Out | PostIndependent.com

Locals show support for law officers at National Night Out

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Memories of news that a Glenwood Springs Police officer was shot haven’t faded far in a little over a week.That July 29 incident was part of a string of recent high-profile events that have people repeating the line “This isn’t Mayberry anymore.” Perhaps that sensation contributed to a larger than normal crowd of people that turned up for a National Night Out Tuesday.A line for food at the law enforcement community relations event stretched across most of the City Hall courtyard for most of the event. Perhaps some people just wanted hamburgers.

But those asked about the police officer shooting said their reaction was one of shock. The officer was shot in the chest near an impound lot south of the Glenwood Springs Airport, but survived because he wore a bulletproof vest.”It’s an eye-opener, that’s for sure,” civil engineer Phil Harris said. “It’s very scary.”He said the crowd was significantly larger than the previous year.Retired county clerk Mildred Alsdorf thought the turnout was the best it’s been in years. She said people were showing their support more than they normally do in light of recent events and the officer shooting.”It’s a shock,” she said. “It’s not our little town like it used to be.”

Capt. Chad Harris of the Glenwood Springs Fire Department said the officer shooting made the department more aware of realities it might have to deal with.”It’s crazy,” he said. “It’s horrible. It affects all of us. Those guys are like brothers and sisters to us.”Most people wouldn’t assume firefighters could get shot at. But he said fire departments require personnel to wear bulletproof vests if they’re needed in a situation where a gunman is on the loose. That is not a pleasant thought for someone who just wants to put out a fire.”I just came out to support our police department,” Linda Beckwith said. “I of course was very concerned with all the shootings in the area. I just was really thrilled that they made some arrests, and I hope they get everyone they need. … It was a shock, especially for an officer to be fired on. I didn’t know they wore bulletproof vests in this small of an area, but I’m glad they do.”Glenwood Springs native Warren Hays shared a similar reaction to the officer shooting.

“That’s crazy,” he said. “I grew up here. Everything’s changed a lot.”A drunken-driving simulation involving distortion goggles and an ATV and a seat belt demonstration manned by Colorado State Patrol Trooper Brian Koch provided some possibly enlightening diversions.”If you feel a jolt at 5 miles per hour, what are you going to feel at 60 or 70?” Koch said.A video and presentation on living with bears played out inside the City Council chambers. There were also booths set up with public safety information from the Glenwood Springs Police Department, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, the Glenwood Springs Fire Department, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, YouthZone, Colorado West Mental Health Center, the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and other agencies.”This is a really good turnout,” Police Chief Terry Wilson said. “I just think that with everything that’s been in the news – I have just had so many people walk up and give us messages of support. It reminds you of why you work here.”

Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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