It’s one of our most popular events- National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. We are again partnering with other area law enforcement agencies to collect unused, unwanted, or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications on September 29 from 10am-2pm. The attached flyer has more details.
Have you ever thought about how much training it takes to be able to simultaneously monitor 7 different computer monitors and multiple phone lines and communication radios, all while taking emergency information from residents and dispatching out emergency responders? It isn’t easy, but it’s critical to the safety of our community.
911 dispatchers inside the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center do this every day, and it takes a lot of training not only to get them to the point where they can do the job, but to keep their training up to date throughout their careers. It’s something we take very seriously, and our efforts to provide top notch dispatcher training is paying off.
Our 911 dispatch center is one of only 18 centers in the entire country who are certified by the Association of Public Safety Communication Officers in their “Project 33 Training Program Certification.” There are only two others in Colorado that are certified. A news release from APCO has the details, but essentially it means our dispatchers, both the brand new folks and those who’ve worked here for a while, are learning the most current techniques and meeting strict standards for handling 911 calls. We’re proud of the work they do, and proud of the service we are able to offer our community.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation that designated May 15th as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15th falls, as National Police Week. This year National Police Week 2012 will be Sunday, May 13th through Saturday, May 19th.
In the United States, about 900,000 law enforcement officers put their lives on the line for the safety and protection of others. Protection comes at a price. There are approximately 16,000 assaults on law enforcement officers, resulting in nearly 60,000 injuries each year. Over the last decade, an average of 160 officers a year have been killed in the line of duty. In 2011, 163 officers were killed in the line of duty.
On average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 53 hours. Since the first known line-of-duty death in 1791, more than 19,000 U.S. law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty.
Deputy Sheriff Suzanne Hopper, 40, of Clark County Sheriff’s Office in Ohio, was the first officer killed in the line of duty in 2011 on January 1. She was responding to a call and during her preliminary investigation, she observed a footprint and took out her camera to photograph it. As she was doing so, a man opened the door to his trailer and shot and killed her. She is survived by her husband, two children, and two stepchildren.
Chief Ralph Painter, 55, of the Rainier Police Department in Oregon was the third officer slain in 2011. He was shot and killed after responding to a local car stereo shop. A man was attempting to take a car that did not belong to him. When Chief Painter contacted the man, a struggle ensued. The subject disarmed Chief Painter and fatally shot him. Chief Painter is survived by his wife and seven children.
Mesa County’s history holds its own line of duty deaths, as two law enforcement officers have died while trying to protect their communities. Jailer Edward Innes died in 1906 after an inmate hit him in the head while trying to escape. More recently, in 2001, acting Fruita Police Chief Dan Dalley was killed in a traffic accident.
All law enforcement officers know the potential dangers of their jobs. Many family members of officers fear that horrible phone call informing them that their loved has been killed. Last year hundreds of family members lost an important person in their lives. Within the first week of 2011 there were 13 children were left without either a father or mother due to the deaths of Chief Painter , Deputy Hopper, and one other fallen officer.
• Monday, May 14– Flag Ceremony at Mesa County Sheriff’s Office– 8am
• Monday, May 14– Mesa County Commissioners Proclamations- 9am
• Tuesday, May 15– Memorial Vigil at the County Building– 7:30pm
• Tuesday, May 15- City of Fruita Proclamation– Fruita City Hall- 7pm
• Please wear a blue ribbon throughout the week and shine a blue light on your homes and businesses as we honor those killed in the line of duty.
For more information about the men and women of law enforcement who have been killed in the line of duty visit:
On Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., local law enforcement agencies will be working with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to safely and legally get rid of your unwanted, unused, and expired prescription drugs. The Grand Junction Police Department, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Palisade Police Department, and the Fruita Police Department all will be participating in the fourth National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
One of the main reasons local law enforcement is participating in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is because of the major rise in prescription drug abuse. By participating in this event you can save lives by helping decrease the amount of prescription drugs that fall into the wrong hands.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2008 more than 36,000 people died from drug overdoses, and 20,044 of those deaths were due to prescription medications. Of those, 14,800 were from narcotic painkillers. That amount is nearly four times higher than it was a decade ago. In fact, more people die in America a year from prescription drug abuse than cocaine and heroin combined. And, it’s sometimes harder to find prescription drugs being used illegally because it can be harder to determine if they are in fact being abused.
“Prescription overdoses are an epidemic in the U.S.,” says Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC. Most people who die from prescription drug overdose are taking someone else’s medicines, he says. “Medicines that were left in the medicine cabinet. Medicines that were given to a friend or a relative. Maybe innocently, maybe maliciously.”
Grand Junction isn’t immune to these problems. The Western Colorado Drug Task Force, which the Grand Junction Police Department is a part of, comes across people abusing prescription drugs just as often as they do illegal drugs. And, although prescription drug abuse is most often seen in younger generations, we do come across older people abusing them too.
Common Prescription Drugs Abused include:
- Pain Killers ( Examples: OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin)
- Anti Depressants (Examples: Xanax, Klonopen)
- Muscle Relaxers
Recently area school resource officers have also seen a spike in the number of cases of younger people abusing over-the-counter cold medications, commonly called Triple C’s and Robo-ing, too.
Perhaps what’s even more alarming is that the Drug Task Force has been noticing poly-drug use, which means using more than one drug at a time. Prescription drugs, illegal drugs, even alcohol and caffeine, are often used together in various combinations. Poly-drug use can be extremely dangerous because people do it to counteract the different effects of the drugs they are taking, or to enhance the high they get from them. However, the combinations can be extremely destructive to your body and sometimes even make your heart stop beating.
People often think that prescription medication can’t be bad for you because a doctor has prescribed it, but when people are abusing the drugs they aren’t being used as prescribed, and that’s where the danger is. If you are someone who has been prescribed medication, you need to do your best to prevent abusers from getting their hands on it. Abusers are willing to steal from family and friends, even go through the trash to find medicine. Kids will go through their parents’ medicine cabinets, or go to friends houses and go through their medicine cabinets. You need to do everything possible deny access to your medication.
How to Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse:
- Lock your medicine cabinets
- Sit down and talk to your kids about the dangers of prescription drug abuse
- Get involved in the lives of your loved ones
- Properly get rid of unused or expired medications by taking advantage of Prescription Drug Take Back Days
For the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on April 28, there will be four locations for the public to drop off their unused and unwanted prescription drugs in Mesa County. Those locations are:
• Grand Junction Police Department (625 Ute Ave.)
• Mesa County Sheriff’s Office (215 Rice St.)
• Fruita Community Center (324 N Coulson St.)
• Palisade Police Department (175 E 3rd St.)
Help make our wonderful community a safer place.
Additional information can be found on the following websites:
On Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., local law enforcement agencies will be working with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to safely and legally get rid of your unwanted and unused prescription drugs. The Grand Junction Police Department, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Palisade Police Department, and the Fruita Police Department all will be participating in the fourth National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
This national event seeks to prevent pill abuse and theft. On this day, local law enforcement and the DEA will be collecting potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction. The service is free and anonymous. Simply stop by one of the listed locations and put your medication into the collection box, no questions asked.
During the first ever National Take Back Day, which was held on September 25, 2010, a combined total of 204.6 pounds of prescription drugs were collected by the agencies in Mesa County. Since then, area residents have disposed of hundreds more pounds of unused medications through this popular program.
This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue. The DEA states many Americans are not aware that medicines in their home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends.
A very nice man by the name of Walter stopped by the police department this morning. He wanted to share a piece of mail he received recently that included an “Award Notification Final Notice,” claiming Walter had just won more than a million dollars in the Spanish Sweepstake Lottery Program.
I was worried that I was going to have to break the bad news to Walter, but quickly realized he’s one sharp guy. Throughout our brief conversation he made several comments that let me know I didn’t have to worry about someone fooling him, such as, “I know I didn’t win anything, I never bought a ticket,” or “I’ve been around long enough to know you don’t get anything for free,” or “I’ve worked too hard for my money to be falling for something like this.”
Unfortunately, for all too many people, these types of scams do work, which is why there are so many of them going around. If the scammers weren’t getting people’s money, then they wouldn’t be wasting their time sending these scams around. We get multiple reports a week from people letting us know they received “a strange phone call,” or “something suspicious in the mail.” That’s why each and every one of us needs to be alert to possible attempts to steal our hard-earned money.
I’ve included a copy of the “Award Notification” Walter brought in. He said if it helped keep even one person from becoming a victim then his trip down to the police department was well worth it. Walter also said he’d spread the word with family and neighbors, in hopes of making sure they don’t become victims either. That’s very helpful too.
We also have an array of information on our website about scams we see in our area and what to do if you do become a victim: http://www.gjcity.org/Financial_Crimes_Investigations.aspx
Like Walter, we hope that you too will share this information with family and neighbors. If you do receive something similar to this in the mail, simply tear it up and throw it away. Or, if you get that phone call that just doesn’t seem right and it sounds like someone is fishing for information, simply hang up. You don’t have to report it to us unless you actually give out your personal information or do have your money stolen. We’re just hoping that by spreading the word we can help prevent that from happening in the first place.