Patrol officer retires after 25 years

After more than 25 years of service with the Colorado State Patrol, Sgt. Henry "Hank" Chase has decided to call it a career.

Chase, who has been with Craig's District 4 Troop B since 1996, will officially retire from his duties on July 17.

Chase graduated from the academy in 1977, and has since served the state patrol in Frisco, Glenwood Springs, Denver, Steamboat Springs and Craig.

Chase spent his first 10 years patrolling the highways. He was then promoted to technician and, four years later, promoted to the rank of sergeant.

Chase and his wife Vickie will retire in New Mexico sort of.

"We're moving to New Mexico, just outside of Albuquerque," Chase said. "We bought a house with some land down there, but one of us is going to have to work for insurance purposes. And I'll probably be the one to go to work because she talked me into it. She said, 'Well, whoever stays home has to do the laundry and the housework.' And I don't really want to do that."

Chase said he would miss being involved with the state patrol.

"I'll miss the job itself the most," Chase said.

"Just being a trooper. It's an awesome job. You have your freedom. You meet a heck of a lot nice people on the road. I would say probably 98 percent of the people that I've stopped, that I've had contact with, are just great people. It's the two percent that are the ones that make it bad for everybody."

Chase, after some quick math, estimated he had stopped more than 100,000 people.

As for what Chase will miss the least.

"The politics," Chase said. "Anytime you're involved in any government organization, the politics are terrible."

Chase said he had always hoped to work in the Craig area.

"This is where I wanted to be in the first place," he said. "I wanted to get back to the mountains. I started my career in Frisco, and Denver was quite an experience. But once our kids graduated from high school and all that, my wife and I just decided to go back to the mountains. Steamboat was the first opening we could get, and then Craig came open."

Chase said of all the places he had worked, he favored Glenwood Springs the most, with Craig coming in a close second.

"Glenwood would have to be my first pick," he said. "That was awesome duty. Just the geography of the area, and Glenwood is a great place. Then I'd say Craig was my second. I've had a great time up here."

Chase said his best moment on duty came during his time in Glenwood Springs.

"I've had a lot of 'best moments'," he said. "But the best moment I've had on this job was meeting my wife, Vickie. In 1978, I met her in Summit County. She was working for the court as a court clerk up there and I had a trial, and that's where we met. That was definitely the best thing to ever happen to me on the state patrol."

Chase's worst moment came during his stint in Denver.

"I was involved in a high-speed pursuit, and three people died in Aurora," Chase said. "It was something I was involved in. The car lost control. It was sad that three people had to die."

Chase said, after spending more than two decades as state trooper, it was time to retire.

"I've been doing this for 25 and half years. I'd say it's time to start spending time with the family," Chase said. "My family has given up a lot. I've given up a lot to work as a state trooper. I've given up holidays, Christmas' to work when they needed somebody to. It's time to repay the family."

Troop B State Patrol Captain Gary Torgerson said Chase would be missed.

"I think the world of him," Torgerson said. "He has always been an outstanding officer. We served together in the Denver metro area, and we've been through a lot together. He is one of the most thorough investigators that I've ever seen."

Chase said he would take away much from his time with the Colorado State Patrol.

"I've had a lot of good times," Chase said. "On this job, there has been more good times that I can remember than bad. The memories of those times are just phenomenal. Like somebody once said, 'This is the greatest show on earth,' being a trooper, being a cop. I mean you see everything. And over 25 years, I've seen it. I've done it. I've been there. It is just amazing. It's like watching 'Cops' 24-hours a day."

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