The worst call in law enforcement |

The worst call in law enforcement

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kelley Cox

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. An officer’s been shot and needs assistance.One of the worst calls in law enforcement went out Sunday night after a Glenwood Springs Police officer was shot south of the Glenwood Springs Airport. The officer sustained only minor injuries due his bulletproof vest. After being checked out at Valley View Hospital, he was doing well Monday and resting at home.When a call like that comes in, it’s a shock – possibly more so for members of local law enforcement. Cops are known to be a tight-knit group anywhere. But in a network of smaller towns, it’s even more true.No one wants to hear that call.It was a tormenting first for Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson. He said never in his nearly 24 years with the GSPD had an officer been shot.”Any time you get a call like that – officer down with shots fired – it’s a call you never want to hear,” said Colorado State Patrol Captain Rich Duran.Duran is familiar with a call like that.

CSP Trooper Brian Koch heard about Sunday night’s shooting when he came to work Monday. He’s still on light duty from injuries sustained in a shooting last fall.”The first thought in my mind was for the officer’s safety,” Koch said. “How he was doing was my first question. … My injuries were quite significant, and my hopes were that this officer was not going through the same. Also for his family, I know how hard it was on mine. Then your thoughts jump straight to, ‘OK, how can I help?’ In these communities law enforcement is pretty close.”Koch sustained a single gunshot wound to his left arm during a routine traffic stop on Oct. 24. He’s undergone several surgeries since the shooting.Later in the day, Koch reflected on Sunday’s shooting. It caused him to think about his experience of being shot. And how it felt for him and his family.”It’s a sobering feeling,” he said. “It’s hard enough going through it yourself, but then knowing friends and co-workers out there are going through it, too, it hit me harder that way.”Hearing a call over the radio of an officer being shot, law enforcement personnel’s thoughts turn to making sure the person is OK, then to doing what they can to help.”That’s just a real heart-stopper for everyone,” Wilson said. “It truly is, hearing that someone in your family has been injured severely.

“Honestly, what goes through your mind is, ‘Now what do I need to do right away to make sure we catch this guy?'” Wilson said.As of Monday evening, two suspects remained at large in Sunday night’s shooting.In the Koch case, Steven Appl, who police believe was the gunman, committed suicide at a checkpoint on Oct. 25.Glenwood Springs and the surrounding area are seeing more violent crimes. Wilson said those types of crimes are happening more than they did 10 or 20 years ago, summing it up recently by saying, “This isn’t Mayberry anymore.”Koch agreed violent crime seems to be on the rise.”It did come initially as a shock, that it was so soon,” Koch said. “I had told a lot of people that we’re going to see more of it with the growth and the crimes that are coming into the valley. It’s important the public knows that. There are big-city crimes.”Although the GSPD officer didn’t sustain serious injuries, the shot in the bulletproof vest did not feel good.

Wilson said the physical feeling of the shot was described to him as being hit with a baseball bat.”His description is, imagine standing there and somebody rears back with a baseball bat and takes a full swing at your chest,” Wilson said.He hasn’t released the name of the officer, saying the officer simply should relax and be with family after the incident. Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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