Stories You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Tiger Times

Stories You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Tiger Times

Stories You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Tiger Times

Baseball
May 22, 2024

The Story of the Erie Police Department: The History, Community, and Much More

The+Story+of+the+Erie+Police+Department%3A+The+History%2C+Community%2C+and+Much+More

 

Erie Colorado is commonly known for the small town, welcoming community that it represents as people drive down Briggs street and Erie Parkway. Part of this community sprouts from the Erie Police Department, in which the current members all strive to keep the town safe while enhancing that small-town feel even as the town continues to grow.

 

The year 2024 marks the town of Erie’s 150th year anniversary, and one core aspect of the town that has been dominant since 1874 is the strong relationship the police officers have with the residents of Erie.

 

In 1986, Erie’s town population was at just about 1,300 people, and Erie received a brand new Police Chief; Jerry La Doucer. With plenty of experience behind his belt, he was excited to experience the quietness and simplicity of such a small town. He explained to writer Bruce Langer, “I think Erie’s going to grow, and I want to grow with it.”

 

In an interesting turn of events, seven years after La Doucer’s employment, he was terminated after there was sufficient evidence which found him guilty on four charges: including false reporting of a theft to an insurance company, insubordination, issuing concealed weapon permits without board members knowledge, and finally failure to inform board members of pending litigation against a former employer.  

Despite this hiccup, the acting Police Chief at the time, Bob Jagt, instantly gave his whole heart to the town, with over 400 residents petitioning for him to keep the job while the board tried to replace him with someone else. Apparently, as evident in an April 1994 newspaper, about 100 of these petitions were from children of the town who Jagt directly worked with during the DARE program.

Later on, February 6th 1995 was the date disaster struck for the small police department of Erie. A local rancher had found a dead body hidden under a sleeping bag off of Isabelle Road, one of the busiest roads still to this day. It turns out it was the body of Boulder resident, 20 year old Yuko Aoyagi. With a case this big, the Erie Police Department had to call in the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department to help them solve the small-town’s first murder in decades. 

 

Four of Erie’s few officers worked with the Boulder Sheriff staff, and they collectively identified 19 year old Ringo Alexander Clark from Boulder the primary suspect of the case.

 

This big murder case made newspaper headlines for weeks, especially since the only thing lining the paper for years was the town’s clean water crisis, building a new air park, and opposition for building the trash dump. 

 

Decades later, the town can proudly say it does have clean water, an air park, and the dump still stands tall right off of County Road 5, or as many residents call it, the “dump road.”

 

As of 2023, the town of Erie has over 36,800 residents, and along with that a police force that consists of more than 10 officers. Over only a few short years, the original population of the town sitting at 1,300 people is now less than the current population of just Erie High School, which is home to over 1,700 students.

 

EHS is a greater and safer place because of the amazing Student Resource Officers on campus, Officer Thoen and Officer Newman. Newman has been an officer in Erie for over seven years, and he has been here for some monumental moments that mark the town’s growth over the years.

 

One moment is where he mentions one of his more prominent Erie experiences took place in late 2017, where Erie brought down the infamous 300-meter tall weather tower that was standing for over 40 years. Newman explains that moments like this are “really fun to see” when looking at the town’s growth.

 

Newman also makes it evident that he enjoys participating in many of the activities the department holds for kids and families, noting “it’s good to see the community want to support [the police department] and reach out and get their kids active and involved with us.”

 

Along with Newman, being an officer of Erie for eight years and a SRO for three years, Officer Thoen indulges in the Erie community and takes pride in her job as an officer of the town. She emphasizes that one of the most important aspects of her job is that, “as a police officer, we have a unique ability and opportunity to change somebody’s life for the better every single day. And that’s an awesome power to have and that’s what I strive to do.”

Image from the Erie Police Department X Page

As the town and police department have grown, Erie went from having only a few officers and a budget of $1,800 for a new police car to 48 certified officers, 10 non-certified officers, and 20+ volunteers, along with 33 Erie Police cars.

 

One of the volunteers at the department is Bill Flynn, where he expresses his love towards the town and the overall success of the police force. He says, “I have just been so impressed with this department,” continuing, “they are very involved with the community and just try to keep in touch with everyone.”

 

Flynn later goes on to explain the significance and the impact the SRO’s have on the community, specifically at the high school, stating “they are positions that are hard to get people out of, because of how much they like working with the kids.”

 

From 1874 to 2024, the town of Erie has grown exponentially, but also managed to keep its small town feel that many have come to love and cherish. With more people to take care of comes more officers and additions to the police department, but from the moment Erie became a town, it is clear the priorities of the police department lie in the goodness and wellbeing of the community.

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About the Contributor
Kenna Miller
Kenna Miller, Assistant Editor-in-Chief
 
Kenna Miller is a Erie High Junior and a second year Tiger Times writer, and her first year as Assistant Editor-in-Chief. She enjoys camping, paddle boarding, country music, hanging out with friends, and her jeep. She cannot wait to write for the 23-24 school year!

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