Our View: If you see something, say something | SteamboatToday.com

Our View: If you see something, say something

At Issue

Observant neighbors and residents played an important role in helping to apprehend a murder suspect

Our View

This incident, though rare in Routt County, reminds us of our responsibility to watch out for our neighbors and report safety concerns to local law enforcement officials

The news that a young woman was murdered in a quiet neighborhood in North Routt County has shaken our community and left family, friends and area residents stunned. The death of any 22-year-old is tragic, but a homicide leaves people reeling, asking the questions of why and how anyone could so violently take the life of a beautiful young woman in her prime.

There are no good answers to those questions, but as a community, we can find some solace in law enforcement’s immediate response to the reported crime and the community’s involvement in catching the suspect relatively quickly and without incident.

The Routt County Sheriff’s Office and emergency responders were called to the crime scene at 7:15 p.m., June 29. After discovering the body of Patricia Richmond in a home in Elk Ridge subdivision, the investigation began, and by Tuesday morning, law enforcement was searching for Cole J. Pollard, initially identified as a “person of interest.”

Information from observant neighbors helped place Pollard at the crime scene and allowed law enforcement to get a specific vehicle description that eventually led to Pollard’s capture.

Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins wisely used local and regional media outlets to quickly disseminate information about the crime along with Pollard’s photo and a description of the vehicle that had been seen outside the home where the murder occurred.

By mid-morning Tuesday, another observant residents noticed a vehicle that matched the description of the one Pollard was driving parked near Trappers Lake in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, and he called the tip into police. The truck was identified by the Sheriff’s Office as belonging to Pollard, and rather than trying to locate him in the dark, law enforcement agencies gathered in the area and began searching for Pollard at daylight Wednesday morning. Pollard was apprehended at a nearby campsite without incident by 11 a.m.

The timeline of Pollard’s apprehension reminds us of the important role residents can play in community policing. By being observant, choosing to get involved rather than thinking things are not their business, and calling authorities when something doesn’t seem quite right, we can help make our neighborhoods and community safer.

We are blessed to live in a peaceful community, but from time to time, our complacency is shattered by a violent act. A positive response to these tragedies is to become more vigilant in looking out for our neighbors.

The observant eyes of one neighbor in North Routt led to the quick apprehension of a suspected murderer, and it’s that type of seeing and telling that we are advocating.

In this day and age, when people tend to keep to themselves more and more, it’s especially important that we recommit ourselves to watching out for one another. It’s imperative that if you see a suspicious person or vehicle hanging around town or in your neighborhood, you report it to police. It’s easy to think someone else will do that, but as individuals, we need to do our part to pay attention to our surroundings, and if we see something, then we must do something. That commitment to action can be as simple as heightening our awareness and routinely reporting potential crimes or safety concerns to local law enforcement officials.

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