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?”
The Flamin Coconuts and the Cops Against Cancer 2011 Relay for Life teams
Cops, 911 Dispatchers, and the numerous civilians who make up our local law enforcement agencies are busy people. This post isn’t about preaching about how tough their jobs can be and how hard they work, rather it’s about the dedication these people have to the community they live in and how much they are willing to give back on their own time.
June was a particularly impressive month. Take the annual Fruita and Grand Junction Relay for Life events to raise money for the American Cancer Society, for example. The events require teams to have at least one representative walking on the track during the entire 17-hour events. The “Flamin Coconuts”, a team made up of 911 dispatchers and friends raised more than $1300 for the Fruita event. “Cops Against Cancer”, a team made up of area law enforcement agencies raised more than $2600 for the Grand Junction Relay for Life.
“Being a part of Relay gives you the opportunity to be around others who are battling cancer and others who have had that loss in their lives,” said O’Leary. “It was my first year walking the survivor lap and it was an inspiring moment for me. Then there was the lighting of the luminarias, which is a solemn event where we honor those lost and those fighting. I have never had an experience like it and it left me with new hope for a better tomorrow.”
There are others in our department who have also been personally touched by the causes they supported last month. For “Flamin Coconuts” Team Captain Cozett Davis, the team formed in honor of a fellow dispatcher that is a cancer survivor, as well as a dispatcher that cared for her husband until his passing due to cancer, and for others who have lost loved ones to cancer.
“It brought us as a group together, doing what we could for the cause,” she said. “This was something new for us, we have never been involved in anything like this before. Next year we hope to raise more and get more dispatchers and families involved.”
The charity fundraising didn’t end with the two relays. A charity go-kart race last month ended up raising money for Wounded Warriors, while also honoring true heroes in our community. And then came the arrests, although the GJPD employees who were cuffed were happy to be thrown in the slammer in this case. The annual Muscular Distrophy Association’s “Lockup” put several of our employees behind bars, forcing them to work the phones to raise enough “bail money” to spring them free. These events combined to raise hundreds more dollars for our community.
As you can see we’ve been up to a lot more than just writing tickets, although we’re still out on the streets patrolling and detectives are still piecing together clues to solve crimes. And that’s just for June; we still have a lot of activities planned for this summer and fall before we start gearing up for our annual holiday activities that benefit a number of the kids in the Grand Valley.
“Being able to share with others and to work along side hundreds who are fighting the same fight you are is a miracle to see. If just one dollar of what we raised helps one life, it’s completely worth it,” adds O’Leary.
Come out and see us at the August 11th Farmer’s Market on Main St. for a “Touch-a-Truck” event. We’ll be bringing all of our special unit vehicles for you to climb in and out of, as well as important safety information. Hope to see you there!