Steamboat Police Commander Jerry Stabile retiring after three decades of service

Police commander Jerry Stabile sits at his desk during the last month of work before he retires.
Spencer Powell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

During President’s Day weekend of 1990, a 24-year-old Jerry Stabile took a ski trip to Steamboat Springs with his girlfriend Jennifer. He was friends with the chief of police at that time, Roger Jensen, and gave him a courtesy call to let Jensen know he was in town.

The Yampa Valley Curse took it from there.

“I had no intentions of coming up here other than to ski,” said Stabile, now a commander with the Steamboat Springs Police Department.

By April of that same year, Stabile was sleeping on Jensen’s couch and preparing to be a member of the city’s police force. The following year, he and Jennifer got married, and they would eventually have three daughters, Alexis, Megan and Sammy.

Stabile will retire on June 3 following three decades of police work. The community will be given an opportunity to honor his service at 3 p.m. May 26 in Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill.

Back in the mid-90s, Stabile was the county’s first Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer, commonly known as the D.A.R.E officer. He was also the first school-resource officer at Steamboat Springs High School, which at the time was somewhat controversial.

During the 1997 back-to-school ceremony, Stabile was introduced to the high school student body, who greeted him with a “standing boo,” as Stabile called it.

“I thought I was gonna be burned at the stake,” Stabile said.

Stabile went to work building relationships with students and the school’s staff, spending 15 years as an assistant football coach at the high school. He also coached little league baseball and enjoyed playing softball in the summers.

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Over the years, Stabile has seen his share of big cases.

In 1991, just a few weeks after graduating from the police academy, and only a year and a half after sleeping on Jensen’s couch, Stabile worked the perimeter of the Coleman double homicide, a case where a man was accused of shooting his estranged wife and her boyfriend before turning the gun on himself.

“When we have these major cases — the Boggs case, the Bases case — everybody has a focus and everybody’s willing to do whatever needs to be done to accomplish the goal,” he said.

Stabile admits his profession can be gritty, stressful and emotionally taxing, but he suggests the future of law enforcement is one with compassion and peer support.

“We can’t walk around the halls here crying all the time,” he said. “But that’s something that’s changed in law enforcement over the last decade.”

Stabile says his upcoming retirement is bittersweet and has nothing but appreciation for the connections he’s made with the people in Steamboat Springs he has served.

“Steamboat has a heart,” Stabile said. “We’re a community.”

Shortly after his last day of work on June 3, Stabile and his wife will be leaving Steamboat Springs to be closer to family on the East Coast. He has two grandchildren, Kolby and Konrad, with another on the way.

Stabile said he’s most excited about living near four bass lakes and hopefully, having plenty of time to watch the Colorado Avalanche win the Stanley Cup.

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