Moffat County Profile: Roger Kendall
Roger Kendall has a favorite story he likes to tell about his time as a trooper in the Colorado State Patrol.
It involves a night when he and his brother, Gary, patrolled the same highway and they both pulled over the same vehicle.
“It’s happened more than once when someone asks, “How’d you get in front of me?” said Roger, a 21-year veteran of the patrol. “We usually just let it go and say something like, ‘Oh you don’t know about the side road that’s faster?'”
The Kendall brothers grew up in Northwest Colorado. Their dad worked for an oil company in Rangely. They moved to Louisiana when they were young.
After serving in the Marines and working for a sheriff in La Junta, Roger wanted to come back to Northwest Colorado.
“This is our home,” he said. “I always wanted to come back.”
He came to Colorado in 1984 to work for the State Patrol and worked in Adams County on the eastern outskirts of Denver. He also was an instructor at the State Patrol Academy. In 1989 Roger became a part of Troop 4-B in Craig. Gary followed shortly after and he works for the sub-troop in Meeker. That’s how they end up on Highway 13 during the same time.
“Most of the time we’re on different shifts,” Roger said. “But there is that occasional time where we work the same time. We look alike, so it confuses people.”
Roger said his time patrolling one of the highest animal-vs.-car roads in the state has made him a different driver. “I’ve also had a run-in with an animal once or twice,” he said. “But my driving habits have changed. I’ve seen too much stuff to go fast on that road. If a car takes off we’ll catch him eventually. I’m not going to chase him at 100 mph.”
During his time off from the Patrol, Roger said he enjoys, “the things that everybody likes about the area — fishing, hunting, four-wheeling.”
He also said he enjoys driving around the county.
“There aren’t too many roads I haven’t been on,” he said. “Right now I’ve been spending time in the Coal Springs area to look at the trophy elk.”
It’s obvious that the State Patrol is a big part of Roger’s life because it’s hard to get him to talk about something else.
“I never thought I’d retire from this job,” he said. “But here I am and I’m close to retiring at 50.”
Being a patrolman requires traits of several professions.
They are one part lawyer because they have to present violations in court. “I always ask a person I pull over if there is an emergency because one time a ticket was dismissed because they had an emergency and I didn’t ask the,” he said.
They are part counselor.
“There is a lot of crying and emotion from both men and women when they feel bad because they think they killed Bambi,” he said.
They are part judge.
“Every time I ask them why they were speeding,” he said. “I’ve heard every excuse.”
His latest, great excuse was from a driver who took off when a trooper tried to pull him over. When they eventually stopped him the driver said he was late to church.
With more than 20 years’ experience patrolling the highways, Kendall said he wishes drivers would recognize that they aren’t invincible.
“It’s unfortunate, especially among the younger drivers, that the attitude is that ‘nothing can go wrong,'” he said. “That’s just not the case, and too many times it takes something happening before they realize it.”
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