Officer Bob Dillon set to retire

0
2303
photo by Kim Cameron Kremmling Police Officer celebrated his last day on Wednesday. March 28. He is now officially on vacation and will retire when his vacation days are complete. Officer Dillon will be beginning his asphalt business with his son, Charles.
photo by Kim Cameron Kremmling Police Officer celebrated his last day on Wednesday. March 28. He is now officially on vacation and will retire when his vacation days are complete. Officer Dillon will be beginning his asphalt business with his son, Charles.

Kremmling Police Officer Bob Dillon has served our community for the last 13 years and is now looking at retirement.

“I love this town,” he said. “I just need to retire before I am using a walker to walk up to cars I have stopped.”

Dillon’s laugh is a deep and gruff baritone, and his life could have easily been modeled off the old westerns with him as the sheriff. In fact, some might say, it is in his blood.

“My great-grandfather was the sheriff in Glendo, Wyoming. He was appointed, elected or just by default he got it. Wyoming was a territory back then.”

Officer Dillon was born in Colorado and then moved to Wyoming with his mother. He spent his summers on his family’s ranch.

By the age of 14, he had quit school and was working on dude ranches and recalls evenings spent at the rodeo as a contestant. By 17 years, he was serving in the Army.

At the age of 20, he was given his first job in law enforcement in an oil field town, Shoshone, Wyoming. The town normally had a population of 400 but swelled with 1100 additional oil field workers.

Dillon found himself Town Marshal and was busy around the clock with bar fights, domestics and anything else that came his way.

“I wasn’t even old enough to buy my own ammunition,” he laughs.

He was then offered a position for $100 more and only 40 hours a week in Thermopolis, Wyoming.

After completing his studies at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy in Douglas, Wyoming, he continued in law enforcement and eventually made it back to Colorado. He took a small hiatus from law enforcement to help run a Shop-n-Hop chain, which eventually brought him to Kremmling.

The rest is history, so to speak.

“I loved getting to help people,” said Dillon, who expanded to say that while you are in a uniform and have a badge, people look to you to help make things right.

Dillon relished the stress of the job and being able to make a difference,.”We do a lot of preventive work on the Kremmling police force.” He explained that being in a small town has allowed the officers “to take an active approach and handle things before it escalates and becomes criminal.”

Dillon also speaks fondly of the kids in the town. “I know most of them from teaching hunter’s education. I live here and know them.” One of the highlights for him has been watching the kids grow up. He sees them begin to drive legally and turn 21. He also looks forward to Kremmling Days when many of them return for the hometown celebration.

“All police officers should have to live where they work,” he says throughout the interview. “There is a term for it now. It is called ‘community policing.'”

He recalls several high school pranks. “One time a group of boys filled another student’s truck with styrofoam peanuts and wrapped it with cellophane. I warned them that there had better not be any of the styrofoam peanuts in the parking lot. Later I drove by and found them sweeping them up.

I have also seen a lot of cars up on jacks and reminded them the tires needed to be put back on,” he laughs.

He also recalls when the community has united to help those in need. One winter several motorists were stranded. The high school was opened for them to stay in, and the community rallied. “People heard about it and showed up with blankets, food, water bottles, and cookies. People saw there was a need and just did it.”

Part of community policing for Dillon is discretion. “…Knowing when to make an arrest or write a ticket and being able to keep on eye on that situation. We get to monitor that. Our approach to law enforcement is very personal-based,” Dillon says and even admits to giving rides home from the bar.

“We continue to see these people all the time,” he says of his hands on approach.

Dillon also appreciates the diversity of their police operation.

“It is neat to be part of a small town. You are everything.” Dillon explains how larger forces have specialists but here the officers are required to have all the skills and abilities. “We have to investigate, issue warrants… everything.”

Of the camaraderie on the police force, Dillon comments that Chief Scott Spade, Sergeant Todd Willson and himself made a good team. “We have strengths and weaknesses that work well together,” he says while confiding he has a reputation for being the tougher one. “I think people know I am fair, but if they screw up I will come after them.”

He adds, “It have been a kick to work with these two guys. We are like family.” Dillon has seen many changes in law enforcement over the years from Miranda Rights to changes in vagrancy and search and seizure laws, but he continues to focus on the people he serves.

The next step for Dillon is beginning his asphalt paving business, Asphalt Preservation Specialists, LLC, with his son, Charles. He also hopes to do more hunting and fishing and spending time with his four other children, three grandkids and two great grandkids.

He will also continue his concealed carry classes.

“Everything I want is right here,” Dillon says, “that is the great thing about a rural community.”