by Pam Zubeck
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.
- The department's drill team was on hand to perform during the ceremony.
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.