West GarCo 2022 in review: New police chief for New Castle | PostIndependent.com

West GarCo 2022 in review: New police chief for New Castle

New Castle Mayor Art Riddile attaches a badge onto new police chief Charles Burrows in November.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

New Castle and its police department are currently in a transitional period.

This past year saw the town’s former police chief, Tony Pagni, get arrested for allegedly walking around his neighborhood just outside of town limits intoxicated while carrying what was described as a loaded AK-style rifle. He also is accused of pointing this rifle at a neighbor.

The town immediately fired Pagni, who’s currently facing charges of felony menacing involving a deadly weapon and misdemeanor counts of prohibited use of a weapon while intoxicated and harassment. 

In mid-November, Police Sgt. Charles Burrows, who worked under Pagni for years, was hired as New Castle’s newest police chief. Surrounded by neighboring police chiefs and Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, New Castle Mayor Art Riddile ceremoniously pinned the badge onto Burrows’ chest at Town Hall.

“The climate is not too terrific right now with the police department,” Mayor Riddle was quoted saying in the Citizen Telegram. “But we as the town of New Castle and town board have been 100% in support of our police department.”

Burrows has since then been nothing but positive. Prior to November, he had fellow officers coming up to him and excitedly asking him if he was going to be the next chief.

“They were worried,” Burrows said of his officers. “More of them were coming up to me and asking, ‘Are you going to be chief, are you going to be chief?’ Because I had good rapport with the staff.” 

Burrows also said he told his officers, moving forward, just to keep doing what they’ve always been doing and not to worry too much about what’s going on up top.

“I feel like it was pretty amazing that we didn’t really miss a beat. It was almost surreal how smooth the transition has been,” he told the Citizen Telegram. “We made it into a speed bump when it could’ve been a mountain, and I’m forever grateful for my crew for doing that.”

The Citizen Telegram reported that Burrows is a veteran law enforcer of more than 18 years. He’s also a Baltimore native. After his father got out of the Vietnam War, he was stationed in Fort Carson and the family moved to Colorado Springs. From there, Burrows would move to Boulder, then Nederland, then to Grand Junction, where he graduated high school.

Burrows then spent four years in the U.S. Air Force as a weapons specialist. He then spent many more years as a military contractor for both the Air Force and the U.S. Navy.

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