The Colorado Springs Police Department Honor Guard was formed in 1974. The Honor Guard was established to reflect the honor and integrity of the Colorado Springs Police Department on various solemn or auspicious occasions.
Each year an “Honor Guard Member of the Year” is selected by a vote of the team in order to recognize that individual’s extraordinary dedication and service to the Honor Guard and the Department.
In 2014 members of the Honor Guard voted to change the name of the award to the “Laura Cochran Honor Guard Member of the Year” to honor our fellow officer, teammate and friend who passed away in December of 2013. Laura’s dedication and commitment to the Honor Guard were an inspiration to all who knew her.
This year’s recipient is Detective Nancy Gifford. Detective Gifford has been a member of the Honor Guard since December of 2001. This is the third time she has been selected as Member of the Year. The Honor Guard was involved in 50 events in 2016 and Detective Gifford participated in 29 of those events.
Detective Gifford exemplifies the commitment and dedication required of all members of the CSPD Honor Guard and we are privileged to present her with the “Laura Cochran Honor Guard Member of the Year.”
Officer Robert Lichti is being recognized for his untiring efforts following the Planned Parenthood shooting on November 27, 2015.
Within 20 minutes of being notified, Officer Lichti responded to the shooting scene with the police department’s mobile command post, and remained on scene for 20 hours following the call-out.
During his time on scene, he successfully worked with Planned Parenthood personnel in Denver to get a video feed from the cameras inside the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility. Officer Lichti was able to maintain the feed during the entire incident, which provided invaluable information to the staff responsible for decision-making and safety for officers inside the Planned Parenthood building.
For his dedication to duty and ingenuity, Officer Lichti is presented a Department Commendation.
Detective Jerry Schiffelbein is receiving a Department Commendation for his remarkable efforts following the Planned Parenthood shooting on November 27, 2015.
Understanding the incident required an extraordinary amount of investigative resources; detectives and supervisors undertook a variety of critical duties. Detective Schiffelbein, assigned to the Homicide Unit, was assigned as the lead detective on the case and was responsible for interviewing the suspect once he was taken into custody.
In addition to getting the suspect’s confession, Detective Schiffelbein worked countless hours interviewing witnesses and compiling evidence for the anticipated prosecution phase. He also coordinated efforts and resources among local, state, and federal agencies that responded to the shooting, sometimes working full-time with the prosecution team from the District Attorney’s Office.
To keep up with the enormous work volume generated by this case and organize the indescribable complexities of its investigative processes, Detective Schiffelbin worked closely with the District Attorney’s Office – reaching far beyond the normal daily demands of an already rigorous homicide detective’s job.
Detective Schiffelbein’s dedication, teamwork and professionalism contributed immensely to a successful investigation and is worthy of this Department Commendation.
Commander Adrian Vasquez is being recognized for his efforts throughout 2015 to develop and implement a new policy on officer involved shootings.
Working in conjunction with several law enforcement partners, Commander Vasquez painstakingly developed a policy that was subsequently adopted by both the Colorado Springs Police Department and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
The policy, developed in accordance with a new statutory requirement, provides investigative support to every police agency within the 4th Judicial District.
His efforts included developing training materials used by all the participating agencies to ensure all entities were well informed and on board with how these sensitive and difficult incidents would be investigated, culminating in all the 4th Judicial District agencies signing a Memorandum of Understanding adopting the policy. Throughout the entire process, Commander Vasquez continued to handle the duties of the Violent Crimes Lieutenant.
The new policy was crucial to the successful investigations of four officer-involved shootings that occurred in the final months of 2015, being the Halloween and the Planned Parenthood shootings, which both involved an active gunman and multiple victims, drawing national attention and intense public scrutiny. Due to his leadership, the Colorado Springs Police Department successfully navigated through these events while still finalizing the policy itself.
Throughout, Commander Vasquez displayed the highest level of leadership, organizational ability, and dedication. His efforts led to the development of a policy impacting the entire 4th Judicial District. Commander Vasquez is awarded a Department Commendation for going well beyond his normal duties.
Heather Edwards works in the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Human Resources Section and is receiving this year’s Civilian of the Year Award.Here are the awards given to citizens:
Heather was nominated for her extreme dedication to all Colorado Springs Police Department employees. She believes human resources should provide superior service to ensure officers and other staff are able to fulfill the department’s mission.
She’s always seeking to do the right thing for the long-term interests of the city, the department and its employees.
Besides being humble, Heather is a great communicator, a great organizer, and believes responsiveness is a key to success.
All the department’s sworn and civilian staff knows they well get a quick answer and their concerns will be addressed promptly by Heather.
With Heather’s leadership, the department has implemented a new injury reporting software and a new examination process for police recruits.
She is a great asset to the Colorado Springs Police Department and Heather deserves this recognition for all she does.
Since posting, we heard back from UCCS spokesperson Tom Hutton on a few questions we posed. So, in case you were wondering whether the university will pay for additional security, should it be necessary for the event, the answer is "no."
Per Hutton: "the event sponsors are responsible for any additional security as determined by the UCCS Chief of Police." And about the university's preparations for protestors, Hutton says that "the university is anticipating the possibility of demonstrations. If demonstrations occur, there will be an area that is designated to ensure the safety of all participants."
——- Original post, JAN. 18, 1:57 P.M. ——-
Troll incoming! Today, a press release from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs announced that right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos is officially scheduled to speak on campus. Two student groups — chapters of the College Republicans and Turning Point USA — invited the guy and will pick up the tab. To repeat: No university dollars will be spent on the affair.
The university does not endorse this speaker’s views (which, as we previously reported, are pretty repugnant), but because the university’s public, cannot turn him away for it. Yiannopoulos — who has been scorned by some in the so-called alt-right movement he purportedly speaks for because of his identity as a gay jew — will also speak at CU-Boulder on the 25th. Students there organized an event featuring Laverne Cox, a black trans actress, to speak at the exact same time, hoping to draw attention away from the smug, transphobic misogynist.
UCCS’s release also highlighted another event going on at the exact same time that was planned months ago. The “university appreciation event,” the release says, will “include comments by [Chancellor Pam] Shockley-Zalabak, music by members of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, who will perform works by composer Leonard Bernstein, and a brief video presentation with campus community members stating support for the university's core values.”
Shockley-Zalabak penned a letter on the matter, found below:
A response to elected officials concern over the rhetoric Milo Yiannopoulos
I absolutely reject this type of rhetoric.
The statements that Mr. Yiannopoulos has made at other campuses are clearly in opposition to the values of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and its commitment to creating an inclusive community that welcomes all.
Moreover, his tactics of personal denigration, as well as racist and misogynist comments, are both personally reprehensible and contrary to the university's values of civil, respectful discussion of difference and difficult topics. We ascribe to The Board of Regents' Guiding Principle that the University of Colorado shall always strive to be "provide an outstanding, respectful, and responsive living, learning, teaching, and working environment."
At the same time, the University of Colorado system adheres to the freedoms embodied in the United States Constitution, which include the freedom of speech contained in the First Amendment. Under well-established constitutional principles, when a student group invites a speaker, the University of Colorado does not censor the speaker because it disagrees with his viewpoints.
In doing so, we draw guidance from, and I quote the words of, the United States Supreme Court, which recently reaffirmed that speech touching on social and political matters are within the bounds of constitutional protection. When speech is on a matter of public concern, even though it it racist or sexist, it "cannot be restricted simply because it is upsetting or arouses contempt" and we "must tolerate insulting, and even outrageous, speech in order to provide adequate 'breathing space' to the freedoms protected by the First Amendment."
Mr. Yiannopoulos's attacks on others constitute "vehement, caustic, and unpleasant expressions" that "can stir people to action" and "inflict great pain." We can, and do, condemn his words, but, as a nation, "we have chosen to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate." As a public university, we know of no legal grounds to prevent Mr. Yiannopoulos from coming to our campus based on his comments elsewhere.
UCCS will, however, require the organizations that invited him to campus, the College Republicans and Turning Point USA, to be responsible for all costs, including security. Additionally, the university will handle all ticketing to ensure that fire codes and other legal requirements are met. I will continue to emphasize that while Mr. Yiannopoulos may be speaking at UCCS, he in no way represents us as a campus community or our values.
Colorado Springs Anti-Fascists are still planning to protest the event. “We’re planning a direct action as well as a more general nice picket thing for those that are less militant,” says a representative of the group, who would direct anyone who’s interested in participating to keep an eye on the event page for an upcoming planning meeting.
Plans to get the biracial, progressive comedian Trevor Noah to speak on campus concurrently appear to not have materialized.
Find tickets and other time/place details about the Yiannopoulos event here.
HOUSTON — Ultra Petroleum Corp. ("Ultra") (OTC: UPLMQ) announces that it has reached an agreement to settle Rockies Express Pipeline LLC's ("REX") $303.0 million breach of contract claim. The settlement will be submitted to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for approval and will be implemented in connection with Ultra's chapter 11 plan of reorganization.
The settlement includes a cash payment of $150.0 million to REX six months after Ultra emerges from chapter 11, but no later than October 30, 2017. Additionally, Ultra has agreed to enter into a new seven-year firm transportation agreement with REX commencing December 1, 2019 for service west-to-east of 200,000 dekatherms per day at a rate of approximately $0.37, or approximately $26.8 million annually.
Mr. Michael Watford, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, said, "Our settlement of REX's claim is another major achievement in our in-court restructuring. This settlement removes the uncertainty around this very significant claim and represents a critical step towards the implementation of the plan of reorganization we filed last month. We appreciate the cooperation of REX and are pleased to be working with them again as business partners."
About Ultra Petroleum
Ultra Petroleum Corp. is an independent energy company engaged in domestic natural gas and oil exploration, development and production. The company trades over-the-counter under the ticker symbol "UPLMQ". Additional information on the company is available at www.ultrapetroleum.com.
The Board of County Commissioners has recently received anonymous letters regarding allegations involving processes and personnel at the Office of the Sheriff and has been made aware of an internet site outlining similar allegations, also made by unidentified individuals. El Paso County has in place robust processes and procedures for investigation where needed and where allegations are made with such specificity and credibility that an investigation is warranted.Simultaneous with the above statement, we received this comment from Sheriff Bill Elder through a spokesperson: "Sheriff Elder has sent a response to the latest anonymous letter to the Board of County Commissioners. He will not be making any comments to the media about anonymous letters contained within the dirtyelder.com website."
All allegations in the anonymous letters recently received have been investigated and/or evaluated with the advice and oversight of the County Attorney’s Office. This is particularly relevant to allegations surrounding policy changes and changes to promotional and disciplinary processes. Since January 2015, the El Paso County Attorney’s Office, and not counsel selected only by the Sheriff, has been providing legal advice and counsel to the Office of the Sheriff. This ensures consistency and transparency with the Board of County Commissioners.
As to allegations made in one letter that a female deputy was “forced to a full physical touching of her entire body captured on jail security video” and subject to multiple “sexually explicit text messages,” the Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that no evidence exists to support these claims, and no member of the Sheriff’s office has made these claims.
The Board of El Paso County Commissioners this morning received legal advice as to the processes and procedures in place at the Sheriff’s Office for conducting investigations and legal advice that had been previously given surrounding changes to promotional and disciplinary processes. The Board of County Commissioners hereby expresses confidence in Sheriff Elder and his staff; that the processes and procedures are sound and if there are sustained improper work actions, there will be an immediate response.
Bill Elder promised to follow all policies. He even signed a copy of the policy that states all policies apply to the Sheriff. Since then he has pretty much done what ever he wants. If he doesn’t like a policy he just changes it or gets rid of it.
Bill Elder promoted and/or rehired 6 individuals on his first day on the job. What policy says individuals can be promoted without going through a promotion board? So the same day he promised to follow policy he broke it. I wonder how many contributed to and/or worked on his campaign? We will get to that in an upcoming article.
Bill Elder promised to create an impartial promotion board, evaluation process and create an independent disciplinary board. How’s that working out? More to come…
With respect to the change in the Disciplinary Action Board, please be advised that the review of the Disciplinary Action Board (DAB) procedure began in September, initiated by EPSO legal advisor, as a result of a decision made in 2015 at the time the Board was enacted. The DAB was a novel procedure and it was decided that it would be reviewed at the one year time frame. At the lieutenant/command staff meeting in September 2016, the legal advisor announced that the matter would be reviewed. The Sheriff made the decision to suspend the Board at a time when no cases were completed and ready to go before the Board. The Sheriff was concerned about the lack of appeal, except for termination and that the Sheriff had no review authority with respect to the Disciplinary Action Board. Also, please be advised that not all investigations per the previous policy were heard by the Disciplinary Action Board.The dirtyelder.com website also has this under the heading "Broken Promises":
When Bill Elder was elected sheriff in 2014 he stated things would change. They did; for the worse.Should the El Paso County Commissioners launch some kind of probe? In the past, commissioners have taken a hands-off approach until smacked in the face with visual evidence of things going haywire — just look at the Sheriff Terry Maketa fiasco.
This website is dedicated to the hard working men and women of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office who deserve better than to have to work in a hostile work environment for corrupt leadership. Law Enforcement requires complete and total honesty and transparency. Command staff should be held to a higher standard and the Sheriff to the highest standard. Bill Elder has shown his campaign promises were nothing more than fiction. He has created a hostile work environment that includes intimidation, corruption and nepotism. This website will expose Bill Elder for what he is with documented and verified facts.
This Website is sponsored by concerned citizens with the goal of bringing the corruption at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to an end. It is also to keep employees informed of all the activities being done by Bill Elder and his command staff. This website is not to spread rumors, make personal attacks or get into politics.
We are empowered by you. Everyone knows a little bit about what’s going on at the Sheriff’s Office. Silence is the endorsement of corruption. We need your help to continue our mission. All material will be anonymous and verified. It’s time for employees to take a stand and demand integrity from their leadership!
Articles will show Bill Elder misled our community and evidence he committed multiple crimes to include official misconduct. We will present evidence that suggests Bill Elder could even be guilty of accessory to murder. We will show evidence of corruption by his current command staff and other personnel within the office. We will present the evidence, and you can be the judge.
One of the first promises Bill Elder made to staff and the community is that all policies would also apply to the Sheriff. We will show he has broken this promise and ultimately does what ever he wants. Below is Bill Elder, early in his term, signing the new policy. We will provide more information in an upcoming article.
1. Pursuant to 24-72-202(6)(a)(II)(C) this document is not a public record because it is a communication by constituent to an elected official that clearly implies by its nature or content that the constituent expects that it is confidential on a matter not yet public.We've invited the Sheriff's Office to comment on the new website and will update if and when we hear back.
2. Pursuant to 24-72—204(1)(b) and (c) inspection of this record would be contrary to federal rule or regulation and rule promulgated by the state supreme court; namely FRE 408 and CRE 408; and
3. Disclosure of the document is prohibited by 24-72-204(3)(a)(II)(A) in that it contains information pertaining to a personnel matter and which would otherwise be contained in a personnel file.
A draft plan to renew the North Nevada Avenue corridor from Garden of the Gods Road/Austin Bluff Parkway to the Rock Island Trail/railroad right-of-way two blocks south of Fillmore Street will be unveiled at an upcoming community open house to be held on:The plan will be available on line after the meeting, a city spokesperson says.
Tues, Jan. 17 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The Mortgage Solutions Financial Expo Center,
3650 N Nevada Ave. Colorado Springs 80907
Those interested in the project are encouraged to drop by any time between 6 and 7:30 p.m. to view displays, visit with the project team, and submit comments about the draft plan. There will be a brief presentation and question-and-answer session beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Media please note: If you are unavailable to attend the meeting, interview opportunities are available with Project Manager, Nina Vetter on Wednesday between 11-12 p.m. RSVP Krithika Prashant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since July 2016, the City of Colorado Springs has been conducting a community involvement process to create a plan that will result in continued investment in the North Nevada Avenue corridor. Community roundtables, an online survey, and a series of four community workshops have generated the involvement of over 825 residents. Results from the process to-date can be found on the website: www.coloradosprings.gov/renewNNAve.
The final recommended plan will be considered for approval by the Colorado Springs Planning Commission in February and by City Council in March.
The City of Colorado Springs’ Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax (LART) fund is administered by City Council, with the guidance of the LART Citizen’s Advisory Committee. LART funds are required to be used for tourism or economic development purposes — events, projects and services that attract visitors or enhance the economy of the City and Pikes Peak Region.Read the application here:
Do you have a gnawing pit of dread in your stomach? You know, the one that wells up every time you see, hear or even think about what’s going on in our federal government right now? If so, this post is for you!
Find below a handy guide to all upcoming opportunities for good, ol’ fashion direct action in the Springs area. Showing up not only strengthens the resistance to certain people and policies, but it also strengthens the networks we’ll need if we’re to have any say over our fate in the coming years.
Sunday, January 15
Our First Stand: Save Healthcare
Congressional Democrats, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, have called for rallies across the country to show opposition to Republicans’ health care agenda. Unite Colorado Springs, a progressive activist organization, has honored the request, calling on all those who don’t want to see Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security or Planned Parenthood totally decimated to come express that in public. “Our First Stand,” organizers have dubbed the rally, signaling that, yes, there’s more to come.
Bring yourself and a sign to the steps of City Hall at 1:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 15
COS SURJ community meeting
Learn about strategies for resisting deportation and other threats to immigrant, Muslim and LGBTQ communities. This local chapter of “Showing Up for Racial Justice” works to call white people into the struggle against racism, bigotry and systemic oppression through supporting groups led by people of color. Per organizers description:
This community meeting falls within a moment of national calls to action by MoveOn.org and coalitions of concerned democratic congressional leaders. We will be unveiling our Front Range SURJ campaign: ‘100 Days of Resisting Trump’ and discussing concrete daily actions that we can all take to make our voices heard and pressure our representatives to respond to our concerns.
Feel free to bring the kiddos, and, remember, it’s timed so you can go to Unite’s health care rally right after.
Show up at the Casa Verde Co-Housing Community (1355 Lindenwood Grove) at 12 p.m.
Friday, January 20
The inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump is almost certainly going to be a shit-show, but, luckily, you can stay far, far away from it. Citizens for Peace and Space — a pacifist group led by Indy contributor Loring Wirbel — will hold what’s likely to be a far more benign gathering here in the Springs. Bring signs, bring banners, bring a friend.
Join at noon at Acacia Park.
Friday, January 20 Saturday, January 21
Women’s March on Denver
Nearly 20,000 people are expected to attend this march in our state’s capital city that’s designed to support a similar one in D.C. The organizers are women unaffiliated with any activist group who got a permit from the city to hold this massive event, replete with a badass lineup of lady speakers and performers. The Pikes Peak Dems have organized two buses to Denver, leaving from their downtown office at 7 a.m. There are only a few spots left so call to reserve yours at 473-8713. (Warning: some attendees will be sporting knit pink pussy hats which may or may not be seen as trivializing a dead-serious cause.)
Activities will span 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Denver’s Civic Center Park.
Saturday, January 21
Day 1: March on Colorado Springs
Don’t waste any time after the President-elect gets sworn in. This “sister march” to the ones in Denver, D.C., and around the country will take place the day after the inauguration and is meant to usher in the first hundred days of resistance. Co-hosted by COS SURJ and the NAACP State Conference, the event will include marching, bannering and a benefit concert featuring hip-hop (by locals Kevin Mitchell & Lord Damage and Stoney Bertz), spoken word poetry (by local wordsmith, community organizer and sometimes Indy contributor Nico Wilkinson) and other speakers yet to be announced. From the co-hosts:
“We strive to provide an outlet and support for those who wish to: 1) Advocate for and defend the most marginalized members of our community. 2) Connect with like-minded individuals and organizations within local Colorado communities. 3) Serve as a model of peaceful demonstration for future generations. 4) Honor those who have fought before us for human, civil, and women's rights.”
Meet at Acacia Park at 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 21
Silence in Solidarity
Omtastic Yoga Studio, in the Roswell neighborhood just north of the Old North End, provides a break from all the noise. For a half hour after the march downtown, gather in candlelit silence before another half hour of mingling. The opportunity is meant for people unable to participate in loud, outdoor, ambulatory protests but still want to be apart of the public conversation. It’s also meant for those who do participate in those kind of actions, but just need a little break to take care of themselves. Bring food or drink.
Silence begins at 5:00 p.m.; mingling at 5:30 p.m. The studio is at 2727 N. Cascade, suite 140.
Monday, January 23
First 100 Hours Climate Justice Vigil
Faith communities across the country are holding vigils to mark a new era in the climate justice movement. Locally, the Colorado Springs Council for Justice, also active on refugee issues, will facilitate what’s described as “a moment to ground ourselves and create community to help us process our grief, our anger, and our fear.”
The action may be vague but the need is not: While President Obama may have not been the perfect ally to environmentalists, he’ll start to look like a downright saint relative to the gang of climate change deniers and fossil fuel executives set to be making climate policy decisions.
If we missed anything, please speak up!