The Durango Police Department welcomed three new officers at a swearing-in ceremony Friday.
“It’s huge for the department,” said DPD spokesman Brice Current. “It’s huge for call coverage, and for morale. Having more officers, some people can go to different trainings or on vacation.”
Officer Nathan Scott grew up in Texas and moved to Durango to attend Fort Lewis College. Before joining DPD, Scott went to seminary school and was in a junior pastor program at First United Methodist Church in Durango, said Durango Police Chief Bob Brammer.
“He chose this direction of law enforcement, which is interesting because he’s still serving mankind and his community, but took a different approach to it,” he said.
Richard Clamp comes to Durango from California, and is an Eagle Scout. Brammer said Clamp’s father served as a California highway patrolman, and that Clamp grew up seeing law enforcement as a calling.
“We’re really looking forward to seeing what he can do,” Brammer said. “He saw his father contribute nearly 30 years in the field, so he’s coming into the job carrying on that family tradition.”
Colorado native Derek Gallegos also comes to the DPD from a law-enforcement family, and Brammer said it has been his dream to become an officer.
“We really think he’s going to be an added benefit,” he said. “This is kind of his lifelong dream to meet that need for the community.”
Brammer said the three new officers are Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training certified. Two of the officers are recent academy graduates.
“We sponsored them to go through the academy so they’d have their POST certification, and then we picked up the third officer who was already POST-certified,” he said.
The new officers will begin field training with seasoned training officers.
Brammer said the new officers will bring the DPD closer to City Council’s vision of providing a safe and secure environment for Durango.
“It helps us with our staffing levels, too, because it gets more people out on the street,” he said “We’re getting closer to meeting our staffing goals.”
In addition to the three new officers, he said there are two DPD-sponsored recruits who are starting training at the academy soon. DPD is also in the process of hiring three more officers.
“We’re in the process of background investigations right now with them,” Brammer said. “Hopefully, we’ll get them on board. A couple of them are POST-certified, and the other one is probably going to be one that we’ll sponsor later on to go through the academy, as well.”
Current said the additional officers will allow the department to do more proactive police work and find innovative ways to form partnerships in the community.
“Realistically, we only have control over a small percentage of how much crime is in the community; it’s the partnerships with the community as a whole that have more of an effect,” he said. “To be able to have more officers to help build key partnerships is really important.”
Current said one of the innovations the department can make with more staff members is bolstering the department’s co-response team with Axis Health System.
“Meeting our staffing goals is an investment in the community, and an investment to our goal of driving down crime and making Durango a safer place,” Brammer said.