Local law enforcement honors fallen officers for National Police Week

The Steamboat Springs Police Department and Routt County Sheriff’s Office are remembering four fallen peacekeepers from Routt County for National Police Week, which runs from May 14-20.

The week is meant to recognize officers who lost their lives in the line of duty, and local law enforcement agencies will host a remembrance ceremony at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 17. The event is open to the community and will take place outside the Combined Law Enforcement Facility, 2027 Shield Drive, weather permitting, followed by a reception in the community room.

“Every time law enforcement officers head out on patrol to protect the community, they are putting their lives on the line — every shift, every day,” Steamboat Police Chief Mark Beckett said in a news release. “It’s imperative that we never forget the service of those individuals who paid the ultimate sacrifice and continue to carry that commitment with each of us every shift.”

“We’re called to this profession for different reasons, but our underlying loyalty is to serve and protect the Yampa Valley,” Routt County Sheriff Doug Scherar added. “We understand the risks that come with the badge, and this special day honors that dedication and shows our gratitude.”

According to the release, Routt County has four law enforcement members who have been killed in the line of duty including two sheriff’s deputies, one SSPD officer and the town marshal with the Oak Creek Police Department.

Deputized civilian Val Hoy was shot and killed while riding with a posse attempting to arrest a man wanted for cattle rustling and the shooting of a teenage boy on a ranch near Rock Springs, Wyoming, just north of the Colorado border. Deputy Hoy was a Union Army veteran of the Civil War. He was killed on March 1, 1898.

Also, Town Marshal Clem Eller was shot and killed Nov. 5, 1927, while attempting to arrest a man for selling illegal liquor at a dance hall. As Marshal Eller approached, the man drew a handgun and shot him. The suspect was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Deputy Sheriff Charles Gibbs Sr. was killed March 21, 1929, when he was caught in an avalanche 22 miles northwest of Steamboat Springs while on his way to serve papers on two miners. A search party found his body under tons of snow the next day. Deputy Gibbs was a U.S. Army veteran of WWI.

Officer James Chew was shot and killed on July 28, 1972, by an escapee from a Washington state prison. The suspect had been the focus of a manhunt in the area for several days. Officer Chew was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had served with the Steamboat Springs Police Department for four years.

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