Craig Police Department welcomes new officer while honoring another for his actions following an accidental shooting |

Craig Police Department welcomes new officer while honoring another for his actions following an accidental shooting

Officer Grant Laerh, left, receives a Life Saving Award from Chief Michael Cochran, center, and Captain Doug Conrad, right on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

Craig police had a busy November, and this week, the department welcomed a new officer, while celebrating the actions of an existing officer credited for saving a man’s life.

The department honored Cpl. Grant Laehr with a Life Saving Award during a ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 13 in Craig City Council Chambers.

According to Sgt. Tony Fandel, police received a call about an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound to a man’s hand on Nov. 6. Laerh arrived on scene within a few minutes and quickly applied his department issued tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

Later, the man reported that blood had been squirting from his hand before Laerh’s arrival. The man’s friends had also been trying to use a makeshift tourniquet, along with applying pressure to control the bleeding.

Then, Police Chief Michael Cochran added that after speaking with EMS responders, it was discovered the bullet had also caught the man’s wrist watch when he was shot, splitting it and nearly severing an artery. If Leahr had not applied the tourniquet as quickly as he did, the man would likely have died from his wounds.

Also on Tuesday, Cochran reported to City Council that the department had a busy November. The November police activity report doesn’t show an increase in personal or property crimes last month, but traffic collisions rose from eight in October to 12 in November. 

“That, we attribute to the weather,” Cochran said. “This time of year, when we start getting the snow that stays, the wrecks always increase.” 

Although some calls saw a decline, the department is still working to fill its staff, which was boosted by the addition of a new officer this week.

Cochran said that for the first time in two years, the department is almost fully staffed. The department has sworn in six new officers this year, including Nicolas Cordova on Tuesday.

Officer Nicolas Cordova, left, and his wife Kristina Cordova, right, at the ceremony Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022 when Officer Cordova was sworn in.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

Cochran administered the oath of office for Cordova, who was presented his service pin by his wife, Kristina Cordova, in front of City Council and fellow police officers. The couple is native to the Western Slope with Kristina having grown up in Craig and Nicolas coming from Grand Junction.

Nicolas Cordova became the newest officer with the department after graduating from the police academy in Delta earlier this year.

Two conditional offers have also been made for new staff members who will be starting at the police academy at the beginning of January, and the department is in the process of hiring for a second community service officer.

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