Wednesday, December 26, 2018

State Patrol Member is Also a Top-Notch Dog Trainer!

State Patrol Director of Strategic Communications Kelly Roll is a high-performing, high-results professional who helps to shape the perception of the Colorado State Patrol.  In addition to her demanding job, it turns out that  Roll also excels at her hobbies -- which include running a ranch and training dogs!

"How she juggles her job, being a mom, running the Rock'n R Ranch AND training dogs is so unbelievable to me," said Victims Assistance Unit Director Denise Poeppel.

Roll recently earned third place in the 2018 Greatmats National Dog Trainer of the Year Contest.

Kelly currently runs the Rock'n R Ranch, and she and her family are building a 45-acre dog training complex in rural Colorado, named K9cation. The family-owned and operated business is primarily focused on dog training and activities, with future expansion coming in 2019 for a larger boarding and enhanced training and sports facility.

Her award nomination quoted Kelly: “It’s an honor to be nominated for this prestigious award.  I admire Great Mats for putting this incredible program together. The real honor is hearing testimonials from the families I help that their dogs love coming to my facility to play and train.  I believe I am providing an experience like no other and that the connection built between these dogs and their owners is going to make a difference with dogs staying in their homes, never to return to a shelter or rescue organization, thereby allowing those great programs to get even more dogs into homes. This is one way that I can give back to the world of dogs, for the love my dogs have given me.”

Kelly's nominator shared this touching story about their journey with their adopted shelter dog, Obi. "Being that we had never had a dog, we needed help with being a better family for Obi.  He was eating his food one day and our littlest approached him to give him love. Obi was still brand new to our home and his first instincts were to protect his food no matter what and by doing that he bit her in the face. This was frightening both for him as it was for us.  We then had to decide if he was the right dog for our family. After some thought and some safety planning we decided that we needed to find a trusted training program because the second option was to surrender him to the shelter. We found Kelly and Margaret at Rock'n R Ranch.  ...

"Rock'n R Ranch is family.  We knew the moment we (humans) had our first exchange with Kelly and Margaret that this was the right place for Obi.  Once he was able to attend after his quarantine it was just a marvel to see how Obi week by week became a whole new dog and we better masters for him.  Kelly and Margaret pin pointed Obi's attributes and areas that needed improvement. He started as a dog without confidence, scared, and combative with new dogs and people.  Kelly and Margaret took their time to pin point these behaviors in detail and showed us how to redirect these during individual and one on one sessions. We continued to do trainings that were taught in class at home, and as our pup continued to transform so did his new humans. Obi's tail would wag as soon as we hit the road to head down to Rock'n R Ranch.  It's his fun place where he learns and interacts with other dogs.

"Obi is now as confident as ever.  Other children are able to handle him. We are able to take him out in public and trust him as he allows other dogs and humans to interact with him.  He loves his family and trust us. He knows that we love him so much. This all in part to the amazing work that Kelly and Margaret did for Obi and us, his family.  If it weren't for their fabulous training I believe Obi would have had to gone back to the shelter..."

Thursday, December 20, 2018

50 Years of Emergency Response: From Plane Crashes to Historic Disasters

Photo by Rod Hanna, Steamboat Pilot
Half a century ago this month, Chuck Vale was among the founding members of search and rescue in Routt County, Colorado. (Read the story here).

Forty years ago on December 4, 1978, Rocky Mountain Airways flight 217 left Steamboat for a routine return back to Stapleton airport in Denver. The flight never made it. Shortly before 8 p.m. that day,  Chuck was one of  more than 60 Coloradans who mobilized on a long search and rescue mission through 60 inches of fresh snow in steep mountain terrain. They located the aircraft at 6:05 a.m. the next day.

Amazingly, the team was able to save all but one person in the crash.

Today, Chuck continues to work in emergency response as a Field Manager with the Office of Emergency Response within the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM). His emergency response career spans five decades, starting in the days before the highly organized, multi-agency network of emergency response we rely on today.

With such an extensive history in this field, we asked Chuck to reflect back on the past 50 years and share his insights and memories.

How did you get involved in Search & Rescue?
I was one of four snowmobilers who came upon a deceased individual 13 miles from the trail head. The Sheriff at the time had no way to help. So we helped bring him out for his family. And then we created "Routt Winter Rescue." I was one of eight charter members; Later it became "Routt Search & Rescue." I was on the team for 15 years and on the board for eight. I was also a part of what became CSRB in the early days to help identify statewide concerns.

What brought you to CDPS? 
I was the Emergency Manager/ ARFF Chief for Routt County for 20 years. The OEM Director then (it was in DOLA) asked me to go to work for him as the Northwest Region Field manager. It's been a great ride.

What has changed most in Search & Rescue and/or emergency management since you began your career?While I was in S&R we went to the legislature and got the S&R fund started. This allows a small funding source to assist the volunteers. The S&R statute was also cleared up and put [under the jurisdiction of ] the County Sheriff's.

Emergency Management has come along ways. When I started it was "Civil Defense." It has now become more of a profession. The statute has been cleaned up, placing the responsibility on the County Commissioners to create an office and "keep current" an Emergency operations Plan. We have identified that there are 5 mission areas that need constant work in order for a county to be prepared for a large emergency.

What has been most rewarding and/or challenging about your career in emergency response? The most rewarding was the reunion of those of us who responded to Flight 217. What a great opportunity to see responders, victims and families from an incident you were a part of 40 years ago! (Watch the news story here.)

 Anything else you would like to add?
Everything we do is for the victim! It takes a Team!

Monday, December 17, 2018

State Patrol Communications Staff Rise to Occasion During Chaotic Storm in Moffat County

The Colorado State Patrol office in Craig dispatches State and Federal agencies for 11 counties and all of the police/fire/EMS units in Moffat County. The center is made up of 12 dispatchers, two team leaders, two Supervisors, and a regional manager.  Recently, CSP Craig handled an incident that rocked their center and required several dispatchers to go above and beyond for the community and for their teammates.

On August 31, a significant thunderstorm rolled through Moffat County, causing chaos. The Moffat County Road and Bridge Shops were hit by lightning and caught on fire; the fire ruptured a 4,000-gallon diesel fuel tank and threatened a second fuel tank. Then the storm spread across the county, causing several sizable wildland fires.

The incident required all hands on deck. Communications Officers Dana Burkey, Sherrie Johnson and Ryan Buttermore were intensely busy answering the overwhelming amount of incoming 911 calls and radio traffic. The situation had escalated quickly, and the three communications officers were simply unable to keep up. Team Lead Michaela Smith and Communications Officers Kaycee Race and Melissa Doubrava were off duty at the time. This group of three recognized the significance of the incident and, without prompting, responded to the center to assist in any way they could. These six amazing dispatchers were able to divide the radio talk groups and filter through the hundreds of incoming calls. Those calls included several other emergencies that had nothing to do with the many fires. This group of six rose to the challenge and went above and beyond that day.

Like so many other communications centers around the State, CSP Craig Regional Communications Center keeps moving forward, giving 100%, and making sure their units and their community are safe.