Photo Essay: Hearts for Rifle |

Photo Essay: Hearts for Rifle

Group rallies together to show support for Rifle Police Department and all of the first responders that serve the community

Last week, the efforts of two local women covered the exterior and windows of the Rifle Police Department with hearts to show local officers some love.

Co-organizer Jessey Yeager said she saw a post on social media in which a group of citizens got together and decorated the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office in Grand Junction.

Rifle Police Cpl. Jared Bartunek receives a big hug from his daughter when he arrived at the police department during last weeks event. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“They had posted hearts all over the building and I just thought it was a great opportunity for the Rifle community to come out to show support for the Rifle PD. Just give them some love and support,” Yeager said.

During the heat of the afternoon parents and children took a few moments out of their day to write a message on a heart and tape it to the windows in front of the department.

Families gather in front of the Rifle Police Department to share their support to the local officers. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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One by one the windows and doors filled up with personal messages of how the department has helped and drawings inspired by local officers.

“We just thought this was a good way to give an opportunity to the community to show their support for law enforcement in general,” co-organizer Kelly Bartunek said. “Our police department has a really good reputation in the city; we wanted to give the time in light of recent events that have been really tough on police officers.”

Rifle Police Officer Kelli Litzau talks with a few of the children as they write messages for local law enforcement officers during the event last week. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Bartuneks has first-hand experience of what it is like for law enforcement officers. Her husband Jared Bartunek, is a corporal and K-9 officer with the Rifle Police Department.

In conversations at home her husband has told her about all the positive feedback he has received while in uniform and on duty.

A community member writes a personal message to Rifle Police Officer Josh Uhernik. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“His morale has been boosted by members of the community really stepping up and showing support,” Kelly said.

The kindness didn’t go unseen as several officers on duty either stopped by while on patrol or stepped out of the office taking a break from their reports.

Community members add more hearts to the exterior of the police department. More than 400 hearts were placed on the building last week. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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“It’s fantastic to know that we have the support of our community, a lot of time on the news we don’t see it that way from the mainstream media,” Cpl. Jared Bartunek said. “It feels good.”

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