Law enforcement officers receive recognition

Each law enforcement organization in Craig has awarded one of its employees law enforcement officer of the year as a way of recognizing the hard work and service these men and women provide to the community.

The Craig Police Department awarded officer of the year to Josh Johnson.

Officer Johnson has been working for the department for a year-and-a-half. He has dedicated a lot of time to his duties as a field training officer and as a patrolman. He gained notoriety as a patrolman last year when he was instrumental in catching two burglary suspects while they were breaking into Hutton's Radio Communications.

Lt. John Forgay of the Craig Police Department said that Johnson's attitude makes him valuable to the department.

"It's a combination of everything," said Forgay. "He has a terrific attitude about his job and towards the community. He is a very capable officer who is a real asset to both the community and the department."

Sgt. Bill Leonard of the Craig Police Department was presented with a special award recognizing his tenacity during 1999. Leonard has taken on the responsibility of keeping the streets staffed with officers.

"His perseverance to try and maintain staffing on the streets is commendable," said Forgay.

Becky Otis, senior dispatcher at the Craig Police Department, was awarded civilian employee of the year. Otis has been a valuable worker in the police department for 15 years. Her dedication to her job is impeccable, according to Forgay.

"She always maintains a terrific attitude at work," said Forgay. "She is extremely reliable. It is difficult to come across employees such as Becky that are as reliable and as dedicated as her."

The Moffat County Sheriff's Department gave awards to both deputies and detention officers.

Cpl. Ken Uecker was awarded detention officer of the year. According to Sheriff Buddy Grinstead, he has not only been proficient in accomplishing his duties as a detention officer and field training officer, he has also been instrumental in revamping the jail policy and has gone beyond his duties in doing so.

"Whenever something needs to be done,he is the first one to jump up to the plate and do what he can," said Grinstead. "He is a family man who is a good example for our community. He is the type of employee we all look up to."

There was a tie for deputy of the year between Sgt. Tim Jantz and Investigator K.C. Hume. They were both given the award.

According to Grinstead, both officers go above and beyond their expected duties to help the sheriff's department and Moffat County.

"K.C. is an investigator who has played a vital role in upgrading the computers, both hardware and software, in the sheriff's department and with the other county departments," said Grinstead.

Hume participates on a committee that is working toward getting all county computers hooked together so all of the county can work together. He is also is the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) officer.

"Both are a huge time commitment and he still manages to maintain his efforts as an investigator," said Grinstead.

Sgt. Tim Jantz has been fundamental in helping the department receive extra funding though grants. He manages to maintain his dedication to his duties while on patrol.

"Tim is a vital link both internally and to the community," said Grinstead. "He is the main grant writer. That means that he takes the time to write grant proposals while still performing his duties on patrol."

Jantz has helped Moffat County and the sheriff's department receive funding for the Ranch Watch Program, search and rescue equipment and the garage at the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

One of the most underappreciated pieces in the law enforcement machine is the dispatch center. The men and women who work at this organization ensure calls to law enforcement are responded to promptly.

Jena Weber was awarded as the communications officer of the year. Her devotion to the demanding job was the reasoning behind her unanimously receiving the award, according to Lynnette Stieb-Sorensen, organization manager, and Ruth Wade, communications supervisor.

"She is always on an even keel. On good days or bad days, you can't tell the difference," said Stieb-Sorensen .

"She has a set of professional standards that she maintains for herself," said Wade. "People have a very distinct confidence in what she does at her job."

Weber has worked for the dispatch for more than eight years. She has taken on more than her fair share according to her co-workers. She has not only handled her communication duties, she has taken on the communication supervisor duties. She is also a statewide emergency medical dispatch instructor.

The amount of time Weber dedicates to community-oriented projects is also impressive. She is a youth services council member.

"She has been like our right-hand woman," said Stieb-Sorensen.

The Colorado State Patrol named Cpl. Brian Bagley its law enforcement officer of the year. Sgt. Hank Chase applauded Bagley for his work as Accident Reconstruction Team investigator and his efforts for keeping Colorado highways safe for the traveling public.

"His expertise and his dedication got him law enforcement officer of the year," said Chase. "He is one person you can always count on."

Bagley's expertise is extensive. He is valued as a drug recognition expert and is very good at it, according to Chase. When he isn't out figuring out what drivers are on drugs or in front of the computer reconstructing accidents, he is training new troopers as field training officer.

"He not only helps our department here, he helps our department statewide," said Chase.

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