New CSP captain ready to settle in Craig
There are two things that make Colorado State Patrol Capt. Gary Torgerson’s eyes light up with excitement talking about law enforcement and the high school football team he has helped to coach into what was a possible state championship.
Torgerson has been in Craig since Oct. 20, firmly entrenched in a motel until able to find a place to rent. He took over as the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) captain for this region after Capt. Rick Donner was promoted to major and relocated.
After working for nine years on the Eastern Slope, handling difficult situations such as the Columbine High School shootings and working in capital security guarding governors, Torgerson is ready for the relative quiet of this three-county, Northwest Colorado jurisdiction. Torgerson is the captain for the Craig, Steamboat Springs, Meeker and Rangely CSP offices.
Torgerson views his biggest challenge as getting to know the area and its unique challenges. It will be a big change over his previous law enforcement experiences. According to Torgerson, it will take him a while to get accustomed to responding to domestic problems and the cooperation between law enforcement agencies he said is unique to this area.
“You never see that cooperation in a big city,” he said. “It’s amazing here.”
He came from Westminister, Colo., where he has lived since he was 4 years old.
“I’ve worked in the family business, but I’ve always wanted to be a police officer,” he said. “It runs in the family.”
Torgerson learned his trade at the Colorado State Patrol Academy and started out as a trooper in 1982. His last post was as a sergeant in Broomfield, Colo., before being promoted and moving to head up the Craig CSP office.
Other than law enforcement, coaching high school football is Torgerson’s passion. His appearance has changed as a result of coaching the Northglenn High School football team. Torgerson promised his team he would let them shave his head if the team went undefeated for the season.
“I didn’t think they would do it,” he said.
Luckily, he said, his team forgot a razor and shaving cream, and his hair was shorn with some very short clippers. Despite the loss of his hair, Torgerson’s pride for his team is evident.
“If they committed to me, I wanted to be committed to them,” he said. “I’m going to miss that.”
The team was undefeated until this weekend when it lost its first playoff game.
He hopes to be able to take up coaching in Moffat County.
So far Torgerson is pleased with Moffat County and looks forward to the challenges he faces.
“It’s amazing to go around town and be waved at with all five fingers,” he said. “This is a neat community.”
Torgerson is now part of a team working to build a public safety center which will unite three law enforcement agencies in one building. Torgerson said he didn’t know about the proposed public safety center until he arrived, but finds it to be well organized.
“I was kind of shocked. It was mostly done,” he said.
He doesn’t plan many changes in what he called “pretty organized” state patrol offices.
“The biggest change is me,” he said. “There’s really nothing I can change. Major Donner ran a nice office.”
Torgerson has 18 employees in four offices to oversee and he said he has found staff to be seasoned and competent.
“I am excited about the challenges and a little nervous,” he said. “There are a lot of different challenges.”
Torgerson is married to his high school sweetheart and has two children, a daughter who is a freshman at CSU and a son who is a freshman at Northglenn High School. His wife and son plan to join him in Craig in March on his son’s summer break. They plan to purchase land and build a home.
A veteran in Moffat County is facing a handful of felony charges after police say he broke into a family member’s gun safe while on drugs when they confronted him for pawning an expensive tool.