Chief Jamie Lucas rebrands Kremmling Police Department

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Kremmling Police Department (KPD) Chief Jamie Lucas has celebrated his one-year anniversary as head of the police department.

Hailing from South Carolina, Lucas has embraced life in the Rocky Mountains with his wife Darlene and their 11-year-old daughter. “It has not been boring,” said Lucas who successfully navigated winter driving and immersed himself in Kremmling’s traditions and events, from Kremmling Days to police escorts for state-bound teams.

Under Lucas’ guidance, the police department has undergone significant rebranding with a new logo, an interior facelift of the police department, and a new tag line of professionalism, accountability, community and teamwork (pro-act).

Viewing the police department as a central piece in a community, Lucas emphasizes communication and strong partnerships with intergovernmental agencies and residents. He now has four officers, Lieutenant Todd Willson, Patrolman Mike Minhas, Corporal Dave Lawley and Sergeant Bob Dillon. Dillon who officially retired from the KPD agreed to assist while a full-time officer was sought to complete the force.
Even though Lucas is still filling his force, he has creatively problem-solved to ensure police presence in the community. One solution was to upgrade the police cars with new I-Pads so officers can complete paperwork while still providing a community presence.

In the upcoming school year, Lucas wants to strengthen relationships with the West Grand School District, preschool and new childcare by installing Lieutenant Willson as a School Resource Officer a couple days a week and as needed. According to Lucas, both the Grand County Sheriff Department and the West Grand School District have both allocated $10,000 for this position.

Lucas estimates the police department, and ultimately the Town, saved over $48,000 through partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, private citizens and governmental entities.

These savings included substantial donations of equipment, grants for updated equipment and training, and assistance from other agencies for educational opportunities.

A notable donation was from a private citizen, who appreciated the work being done by the KPD and “wanted to contribute to the positiveness,” and gave a new hand-held radar and lidar to the department. The equipment was valued at $6,000.

“Out of all the people they chose to help, they chose us,” said Lucas in awe of the gift from the anonymous donor.

Other new equipment received through grants and donations include Stalker Radars, electric firearm mounts, fire extinguishers, Medtronic LifePak CR Plus Defibrillators, doses of Narcan, and prisoner transport cages.

Lucas also has a strong commitment to his officers and tries to ensure their success in the field through training. One of Lucas’ commitments is to value his officers and make Kremmling a place where officers want to be versus it be a stepping-stone. With this philosophy he was able to recruit experienced officer, David Lawley from Lochbuie.

“I don’t want to be a training ground for other departments, said Lucas. “We want to be able to offer the best to the community and have the best police officer candidates wanting to be part of a well-trained department and a growing community”.

He continued, “I want to put the right people in the right positions and utilize their strengths. And most importantly, I want to allow them to do their jobs that they have been trained to do.”

Lucas also believes in rewarding a job well-done. Under this philosophy, he promoted Willson to Lieutenant, Dillon to Sergeant and Minhas to Patrolman First Class.

This year Officer Minhas was certified in “Managing the Property and Evidence Room” with a scholarship. With this training, Minhas takes on the responsibility of evidence custodian.

Lucas had inherited evidence from decades of police investigation and tasked the KPD with its clean-up and organization. Of the more interesting finds, cyanide from an earlier police investigation, had to be disposed. “We are really working on providing more education to our evidence custodian so that issues, like the cyanide, do not linger longer than necessary,” explained Lucas.

Other training the KPD received this year includes: proper administration of Narcan for individuals who have overdosed or come into contact with lethal doses of opioids, proper use of a straight baton, proper use of OC Spray, effective courtroom testimony, proper administration of the State of Colorado Standard Field Sobriety Test, Community Response Drug Training, and taser training for the new Taser X2.

In addition, Corporal Lawley was certified by the State of Colorado in July to perform evidence breath alcohol testing. He will also attend a course in December to become certified as an Intoxilyzer 9000 instructor, an advance course in the use of evidence breath alcohol testing.

Chief Lucas also believes in education for himself, and after several high speed pursuits throughout the county, will be attending a week long course in Denver at the end of August to be a driving and precision Immobilization technique (P.I.T.) instructor. This course will certify Lucas to come back to KPD and instruct his officers and other law enforcement jurisdictions on up-to-date driving techniques and the proper way to immobilize a vehicle in a safe manner to end dangerous vehicle pursuits that pose a danger to the public and citizens.

Lieutenant Willson will be attending a week long course in Denver in October to be a defensive tactics instructor. This course will certify him to come back to KPD and instruct officers and other law enforcement jurisdictions in the proper use of expandable/straight baton, handcuffing, OC and defensive tactics.

“It has been important for me to give these classes to these officers,” said Lucas. The officers had to complete required yearly courses but also had the opportunity to pursue what interested them. Lucas explains this allows them to give back to the community with their knowledge.

Lucas also sends a strong message to what he refers to as the criminal element in Kremmling. “We want the criminal element to fear the police,” said Lucas. “Equally, we want our hard-working law-abiding citizens to feel safe and know we are doing everything possible to keep them protected from falling victim from those who constitutes the criminal element.”

The KPD aggressively pursues those with active warrants, and during the past year, the KPD was able to solve a series of crimes involving car burglaries and coin-operated machines at businesses.

“These crime sprees were unique. We were able to connect the dots after the investigation and clear two to three other jurisdictions with these groups of people committing the crimes,” said Lucas.

“I feel very grateful for our partnerships with our citizens, their trust and their willingness to help us solve issues,” said Lucas who also appreciates his partnerships with other law enforcement agencies. After a violent stabbing crime, Lucas enlisted the services of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to ensure the crime scene was investigated properly and all evidence was collected. He also collaborates often with the Grand County Sheriff Office.

Lucas’s commitment to communication and partnerships is also seen throughout social media where he will respond to questions and concerns in his off hours.

“I don’t want miscommunication throughout the community. I want it to be transparent and straight-forward,” said Lucas.

Lucas hopes this straight forwardness and willingness to work with the community will help as the Town takes steps to clean-up and enforce Town codes.

Of the first year, Mayor Grover Pryor commented, “Chief Lucas has handled a very eventful first year smoothly and is great asset to our town.”

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