What a perfect day to show a little love to the men and women who serve with this agency.
About a month ago, we responded to a report of a subject with a gun at Grand Junction High School. More information on that incident can be found here. We think it’s important to note that these incidents don’t happen in a vacuum; when it comes to any critical incident response—especially something as important as a safety threat to one of our schools—we evaluate our response. We are self-critical. What could we do better? Different? What’s working? What isn’t?
Today, one of our detectives, Cody Kennedy, shared this email, after a detailed review of this particular incident. He took the opportunity to commend the response of two officers, in particular; Officer Jeff DeBellevue and GJHS School Resource Officer Tim Litzau. Cody shared the following:
“I was on duty when the call came out and I responded to the High School. While en route I heard Officer DeBellevue call out a foot pursuit with the person that was found to be our suspect. Due to his prompt response and high awareness he spotted the subject as he slipped from the school out a side door. Officer DeBellevue recognized the subject matched the description, called out the contact and pursued the suspect on foot. Due to this the suspect was taken into custody within a short time of the initial 911 call. And by short time I mean seven minutes!
Also noteworthy is the fact that SRO Officer Litzau was within arm’s reach of the suspect, inside the school, within about two minutes of the initial 911 call. I learned this as I reviewed security video from the school that showed our suspect leaning against a wall with the very realistic looking 1911 style BB gun hidden in his waistband. Officer Litzau had responded to this area based on the dispatched information and was clearly urging kids to seek shelter (lockdown) and looking for the suspect.
Had this been the call we feared it was I am confident either Officer DeBellevue or Officer Litzau would have confronted the subject and stopped the threat. As a patrol tactics instructor I recognize and applaud their initiative to go right in on their own to face the danger and protect kids with a solo response. As a community member and father of high school age children I am grateful for their response.
I acknowledge that this is what we’re trained to do. In fact, I have spoken to both Officer DeBellevue and Officer Litzau and they both responded along those lines. As cops we expect we may have to do this but these guys both responded in a selfless way to protect kids and I think this deserves recognition.”
We couldn’t agree more with Cody’s assessment. Our officers do what they’re trained to do, and without desire of recognition. But today is all about love, and we’re glad to recognize the good work of Officers Litzau and DeBellevue, and all of our staff at the Grand Junction Police Department.