This week in September is recognized nationally as Forensic Science Week. What better opportunity to take a moment to recognize the critical work done by the staff in our very own Grand Junction Police Department property and evidence division, who are part of this national group of professionals!
Forensic Science Week acknowledges the important role forensic science plays in the investigation of crimes, from exonerating the innocent to identifying the guilty. This week recognizes the scientific and technical professionals that serve in that vital role. The Grand Junction Police Department is privileged to have several members of our organization who are a part of the forensic community. Within our agency, we have experts who respond to crime scenes to process and collect evidence, maintain the integrity of evidence submitted, and perform analysis on controlled substances, digital evidence, serology, and latent prints. Several in our lab staff of nine employees have earned a certification in their respective disciplines, while others are working towards a certification. This year, we have added several sworn officers to our Forensic Investigation Unit, who assist in the processing of crime scenes. Their expertise helps our group provide expert work product to assist in the investigation and prosecution of crime. Most of the time, these individuals work behind the scenes, maintaining evidence and processing items long after the initial crime was committed. They each deal with heavy caseloads and responsibilities, yet strive to answer critical questions to assist in criminal investigations while maintaining the highest integrity and quality of work. Here are just a few statistics that highlight the volume of work handled by these highly skilled employees:
- Thus far in 2020, officers have submitted over 13,000 pieces of evidence. That averages to be approximately 1,625 items a month, or 54 items a day.
- We currently have 56,606 cases in our custody, with some of our oldest dating back to the 1960s.
- The Digital Lab has processed over 9 TB of information in 2020.
- We have completed over 2,100 lab requests in 2020. That averages to be approximately 265 requests a month.
- Our two employees at CBI assist in processing Chemistry and Serology cases for numerous law enforcement agencies across the entire Western Slope.
Grand Junction Police Department Crime Laboratory Supervisor Trent Rundquist states, “I’m so pleased to bring awareness and acknowledgement to the crucial work these individuals do on a daily basis. I am amazed to see the professionalism performed in the field and in the office, and feel honored to work among them.”
Additionally, we’d like to share that Trent Rundquist was recently selected to serve on the Latent Print Certification Board of the International Association for Identification. This appointment validates Trent’s expertise in the science of fingerprints through a rigorous testing process. Certification is based upon the candidate’s personal and professional record of education and training, experience and achievement, as well as on the results of a formal examination. The board tests the proficiency of applicants and tests all IAI Certified Latent Print Examiners as part of their re-certification requirement. Trent’s appointment to this prestigious board speaks to the level of talent and expertise we have at the GJPD.
Congratulations to Trent, and to the incredible team we have at the Grand Junction Police Department! We are so fortunate to benefit from your training, expertise, and service.
The Grand Junction Police Department is investigating a shooting that occurred in the 900 block of White Avenue in the late hours of September 17th.
At approximately 10:35 p.m. a call came into the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center from a reporting party that stated there had been shots fired at the address. The reporting party said they heard multiple gunshots from within the apartment complex and witnessed two subjects leave the address in an unknown vehicle.
Within minutes, officers with the Grand Junction Police Department and deputies with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office responded and quickly established a perimeter around the building. Law enforcement personnel began clearing the residence and located three people inside. They were unable to locate a suspect or any gunshot victims on scene, or in the surrounding area.
At approximately 10:46 p.m. a call came into the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center from a reporting party at St. Mary’s Hospital who stated that a male, with a gunshot wound, had been dropped off outside the hospital entrance. A few minutes later, a second victim with a gunshot wound arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital, which prompted the hospital to be put on lockdown.
One of the victims was later pronounced deceased. The Mesa County Coroner’s Office will be responsible for releasing the identity of the deceased once proper notifications have been made.
This is an ongoing investigation and the scene is still being processed. Officers and deputies are actively interviewing witnesses and pursuing any leads. If anyone has information about the events that unfolded, please contact non-emergency dispatch at 970-242-6707.
We understand that incidents like this are concerning to our community. At this time, we believe this to be an isolated incident, but we ask you continue to remain diligent about your surroundings and if you see any suspicious activity, call 911 immediately.
In late August, the Grand Junction Police Department successfully completed a multi-day sex offender compliance and verification check.
During the three-day period, the Grand Junction Police Department, the Colorado Department of Corrections Parole Division, and the U.S. Marshals Service conducted unannounced visits to the homes of known sex offenders within the City limits of Grand Junction. Law enforcement personnel conduct these checks to ensure those who have been convicted of sex offenses are in compliance with state laws. The objective of this operation was to identify the offender, verify their registration, and confirm their address and place of employment.
The operation’s effort resulted in 231 compliance checks. Out of all the compliance checks completed within the City limits of Grand Junction, 11 offenders were found to be in violation. Offenders found to be in violation will be further investigated by officers with the Grand Junction Police Department and may incur possible warrants for Failing to Register.
The Grand Junction Police Department along with contributing agencies, conduct sex offender compliance checks every year and depending on the offender, multiple checks are made throughout the year to ensure continued compliance is met.
Shortly after 10:00am on Saturday morning, the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center received a call about a trespass in progress taking place in the 1200 Block of M ¾ Road in Loma. The reporting party stated that her neighbor was on her property and was carrying a gun.
Deputies with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area, as well as officers with the Fruita Police Department who responded to assist, and located the male suspect. The suspect was armed with a firearm and was not compliant with directions from law enforcement. Ultimately, the suspect was shot by law enforcement. Emergency personnel on scene performed lifesaving efforts until the suspect was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. No law enforcement officers were injured in this incident.
The Mesa County Coroner’s Office will be responsible for releasing the identity of the deceased, as well as the cause and manner of death, after appropriate notifications have been made.
All officer involved shootings in Mesa County are investigated by the 21st Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team, which is comprised of representatives of the Grand Junction Police Department, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Fruita Police Department, Palisade Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Because their personnel were involved in this incident, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and the Fruita Police Department will not participate in this investigation.
It’s important to note that this investigation is in the very early stages, and this preliminary information is subject to change. Members of the Critical Incident Response Team will conduct interviews of witnesses and involved persons in this case over the coming days. Additional details will be released as appropriate, with sensitivity to the ongoing investigation. The involved officers and deputies will be placed on administrative leave, as is standard protocol.
We are grateful for the trust and patience of our community to allow us to ensure a thorough and complete investigation into this incident.
On Friday, July 17th, 2020, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and the Fruita Police Department responded to a report of a felony menacing in the 1100 block of E. Carolina Avenue. The reporting party stated that an adult male, who she identified as her boyfriend, had threatened her with a handgun. When deputies with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and officers with the Fruita Police Department arrived on scene, they attempted verbal contact with the subject, who failed to comply with orders and was ultimately shot by law enforcement.
The 21st Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team, comprised of representatives of the Grand Junction Police Department, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Fruita Police Department, Palisade Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and Colorado Bureau of Investigation, is responsible for the investigation of any officer involved shooting in Mesa County. Because their personnel were involved in this incident, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and the Fruita Police Department did not participate in this investigation.
The CIRT investigation was completed and turned over to the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Dan Rubinstein has completed his review of the investigation, and his findings can be reviewed here. All four law enforcement officers have returned to work.
We appreciate the trust and patience of the public, while we ensure a thorough investigation into incidents like this one is completed.
National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances. Since the first event in 1984, millions of neighbors have taken part in National Night Out across thousands of communities from all fifty states.
While National Night Out typically takes place the first Tuesday in August each year, 2020 had other plans. This year’s events are planned for Tuesday, October 6th, and registration is currently underway! All Grand Junction neighborhoods who register their National Night Out events with the Grand Junction Police Department will have an officer stop by and visit them during the event to provide safety information and answer questions.
What does a National Night Out event look like?
That’s completely up to you and your neighbors! In years’ past, we’ve seen neighborhoods organize ice cream socials, host pizza parties, have all of the residents bring their BBQs into their driveways for a cookout, or just meet in someone’s yard for cookies and lemonade. You can find a whole list of possibilities here. The idea is to customize your neighborhood event so it encourages and invites participation from those who live around you.
What impact will COVID-19 have on my neighborhood event this year?
We are encouraging neighborhoods to follow all best public health practices when planning their NNO event. Small gatherings are best, with events held outdoors. If you plan to have food at your event, provide prepackaged items to grab and go, rather than dishes that require shared utensils. Consider wearing a masks and adhering to social distancing guidance. Most importantly, be sure to stay home if you’re sick. Officers will be wearing masks during their visits to neighborhood events.
How do I register my neighborhood?
Simply visit our National Night Out website. Please keep in mind that only neighborhoods within the city limits of Grand Junction can register their National Night Out events through our website. Check with your local law enforcement jurisdiction to see if they are participating in NNO events in your area. Not sure if you live in the city limits of Grand Junction? You can check here. Registration closes on October 2nd.
How do I know if someone else in my neighborhood has already registered an event for us?
As people register their neighborhoods, the information will show up on our National Night Out website. There’s a link to see which neighborhoods have registered and who is hosting the event. You can also call our Community Resource Unit at (970)549-5331 for more information.
What kinds of things do neighborhoods do during National Night Out?
Are you thinking of hosting an event for your neighborhood? Get some event ideas here.
Check out some photos from previous year’s events on our Facebook page.
At approximately 2:30pm on Thursday afternoon, a reporting party called the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center from an apartment building in the 500 Block of Colorado Avenue and stated that their neighbor was screaming and throwing items out a second story window. A short time later, dispatch received another call from a second reporting party who stated that the same subject had sprayed them with bear spray and threatened another male with a knife.
Officers with the Grand Junction Police Department responded to the area immediately and through a history search of the address, were able to locate a possible name and phone number for the subject. Officers made repeated attempts to contact the subject by phone and loud hails utilizing a public address system, but were unsuccessful. During the loud hails, the subject could be heard saying that he had a gun but was otherwise unresponsive to officers’ commands.
Colorado Avenue was closed to traffic from 5th Street to 6th Street, and an emergency notification was sent to residents in the surrounding area, requesting that they shelter in place. Officers contacted several residents in the apartment building to safely evacuate them. During the evacuation process, it was discovered that the subject was stabbing a knife through the wall of the apartment he was believed to be in. The GJPD SWAT team was called out to assist, as well as SWAT operators with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.
Concurrently with operations on scene, officers began working on a search warrant and an arrest warrant for the subject involved and both warrants were signed by a judge. An apprehension team then successfully entered the apartment and was able to take the subject into custody without further incident. The subject is identified as Adam Clefe, age 35, of Grand Junction. Clefe will be cleared by medical personnel and then transported to the Mesa County Detention Facility on numerous charges, including felony menacing, assault, and criminal mischief.
Numerous GJPD officers responded to this incident, as well as Mesa County Sheriff Office’s SWAT operators, medical personnel with the Grand Junction Fire Department, and an Incident Dispatch Team with the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center. Critical incidents like this one are complex and require a large presence of law enforcement personnel to address the safety needs of everyone involved. For anyone who may have experienced a long delay when they called for help for unrelated issues while this incident was unfolding, thank you for your patience and understanding.
Shortly after 11:00pm on Wednesday night, a reporting party called 9-1-1 to report that an adult male, who was known to have multiple warrants for his arrest, was at a hotel in the 2700 Block of Crossroads Boulevard. One of the warrants was related to a domestic violence incident and the victim of that incident was reported to be staying at the hotel.
Officers responded to the hotel and were contacted by a second reporting party, who claimed that she was an acquaintance of the suspect and that she believed he was inside her hotel room. The reporting party also stated that another male who was staying in the room with her was likely still in the room with the suspect. Officers, who had set up a perimeter at the hotel, witnessed a male matching the description of the suspect look out the window. The male refused to open the door to the hotel room and repeatedly told officers to go away.
Officers were able to make phone contact with the suspect. The suspect made numerous threats, including stating that he was in possession of explosives and officers should evacuate the building. The suspect stated that he would get into a gun fight with police, and officers were able to hear what sounded like items being placed against the door in the interior of the room. The suspect also claimed that he had a hostage in the room with him. Officers contacted another reporting party who stated that she had received a phone call from another male in the room with the suspect who stated that the suspect would not permit him to leave.
Officers evacuated numerous rooms in the hotel and the SWAT team was called out to assist. Ultimately, after several hours of attempted negotiations with the suspect, the officers used force to breach the door to the hotel room and they took the suspect into custody without further incident. The other adult male in the room was safe and uninjured. Inside the room, a multi-tool with a fold out knife was located, along with several needles, prescription pills, and other drug paraphernalia.
The suspect, identified as Bucky Burke, age 41, of Grand Junction, was arrested and remanded to the Mesa County Detention Facility on numerous charges related to this incident, as well as warrants for prior incidents. The charges stemming from this incident include:
1st Degree Burglary (F3)
Felony Menacing (F5)
2nd Degree Kidnapping (F2)
False Imprisonment (F5)
Obstructing a Peace Officer (M2)
Resisting Arrest (M2)
Criminal Mischief (M3)
At 2:45pm on Monday afternoon, a 9-1-1 call came into the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center, reporting a felony menacing that had just occurred in the area of N. 12th Street and Patterson Road. The victim stated that a male driving a maroon and silver Chevy truck nearly struck the victim’s vehicle and that the driver then pointed a gun at the victim, who was driving in a separate vehicle with his family.
Officers responded to the area and began searching for a vehicle matching the description provided by the victim. A matching vehicle was located near North Avenue and N. 12th Street, approximately nine minutes after the initial call came in. Officers initiated a traffic stop, and the vehicle eventually stopped near N. 15th Street and Kennedy Avenue. The driver disregarded commands from officers to turn off the vehicle and instead got back in the truck and fled the scene. Due to the reported involvement of a firearm, officers pursued the vehicle and ultimately implemented a PIT maneuver, or Pursuit Intervention Technique, near the area of N. 15th Street and Ptarmigan Ridge. The male was given repeated commands, which he disobeyed. Officers used less lethal impact rounds on the suspect, but he continued to ignore their commands. The suspect proceeded to remove his clothing and attempted to reach into his vehicle, at which point an officer tackled the suspect and detained him without further incident. A firearm was located inside the suspect’s vehicle.
One officer was evaluated on scene by medical personnel for minor injuries sustained during the incident. The suspect was transported to the hospital for medical clearance. Once medically cleared, he will be remanded to the Mesa County Detention Facility on pending charges including felony menacing and eluding.
At approximately 11:13 p.m. on Friday, July 17, 2020, officers with the Fruita Police Department and deputies with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a report of a felony menacing in the 1100 block of E Carolina Avenue. The reporting party stated an adult male, whom she identified as her boyfriend, had threatened her with a handgun. The adult subject failed to comply with orders and ultimately was shot by law enforcement. Although officers rendered aid until medical personnel arrived, the adult subject was pronounced deceased on scene. No law enforcement officers were injured.
The Mesa County Coroner’s Office will be responsible for releasing the identity of the deceased, as well as the cause and manner of death, after appropriate notifications have been made.
As with all officer involved shootings in Mesa County, the 21st Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team comprised of representatives of the Grand Junction Police Department, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Fruita Police Department, Palisade Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and Colorado Bureau of Investigation, is responsible for the investigation of this incident.
Members of the Critical Incident Response Team will conduct interviews of witnesses and involved persons in this case over the coming days. Additional details will be released as appropriate, with sensitivity to the ongoing investigation. The officers will be placed on administrative leave, as is standard protocol.
Anyone who witnessed this incident, as well as anyone who has security cameras that may have captured all or part of these events, is encouraged to contact the Grand Junction Police Department at (970) 549-5200.