When you ask someone what a person who works for the police department does, you’ll likely get a response of “they arrest people” or “they write tickets.” We can’t argue with that. But, with 180 employees within the Grand Junction Police Department, both civilian and sworn, there are many folks here who do amazing things for our community and our police department- beyond just making arrests or issuing tickets. We want you to know about some of these people. We hope you’ll enjoy this insight into some of the work being done as we answer “What Else Do They Do?”
Out of the tens of thousands of law enforcement officers in the entire state, coupled with all of the civilians in Colorado who are working to end domestic violence, Grand Junction Police Sgt. Lonnie Chavez stands out from the rest.
When Sgt. Lonnie Chavez was promoted to his current rank he received an assignment that would help shape the work he does today, work that resulted in him being one of two people in the entire state to receive the 2010 Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence “Make a Difference Award.”
Sgt. Chavez was tasked with looking at the victims of domestic violence cases and seeing how many times they go back to their offenders. Sgt. Chavez began documenting the cycle of violence and looking for ways to help those involved in the highest number of incidents.
“It can be frustrating when the victim doesn’t understand the cycle they’re involved in,” said Sgt. Chavez.
But that doesn’t mean Sgt. Chavez gives up on those victims. Instead, he works harder, teaching younger officers how to go beyond the appearance of a situation and to dig deeper into what is really happening with each domestic violence incident they respond to.
“I want to bring more information about domestic violence to the police department,” Sgt. Chavez adds. “I want to help our people feel more comfortable when it comes to making decisions when they respond to calls, and to look at the history of the relationship and what it can mean for the present case.”
This award is a nice recognition of the years of work Sgt. Chavez had dedicated to the fight against domestic violence. Here are some of the highlights:
Has been a member of the Mesa County Domestic Violence Task Force for the last 3 years
Started teaching at the Western Colorado Peace Officers Academy (police academy) in 2007
Is an instructor for the Domestic Violence Academy, which is an annual 2-day training for professionals in the industry
Teaches basic and advanced domestic violence and sex assault courses
Things Sgt. Chavez has said about what he does:
“Work against domestic violence is such a female dominated area that I think it’s good that I can offer a different perspective.”
“I keep learning, even as long as I’ve been working with domestic violence cases, that there’s an amazing amount of resources out there for victims.”
“You don’t hear about domestic violence a lot in the news. It’s an uncomfortable crime to talk about. But, I can guarantee nearly everyone has been affected by domestic violence or knows someone who has.”
“Receiving the award is very humbling, it’s something I didn’t expect.”