It seems every local remembers the moment when they first fell in love with skiing and decided to move to the valley.For Jeff Layman, that day came 28 years ago.”I was bitten by the ski-bug when I was a freshman in college,” he says. “I was at the University of Kansas and came out for a ski trip and stayed at my uncle’s cabin in East-Vail; it was the spring of ’76.”It didn’t take long. He quit school, packed it up and moved out here to ski for a year. He worked a couple of jobs, as many locals still have to in order to survive. After that year though, Jeff pulled himself out of his ski coma and went back to Wichita to finish his Bachelors degree in Administration of Justice.After graduation, Jeff aimed his compass toward the valley and found his way back home.”I had just gotten my EMT certification and was looking at a job with the Ski Patrol. At the time the Vail Police Department was also hiring and I received a job offer. I sat down and weighed the pros and cons and took the job in my field,” Jeff says.Jeff started at the VPD in 1980, the same year he met his wife Barb.”I met my wife on Bridge Street. I was a cop walking the beat; she was a cocktail waitress at the Red Lion,” reminisces Jeff with a smile.Jeff was a staple at the Vail Police Department for 18 years, serving as a patrol officer, a patrol sergeant and then was promoted to lieutenant. For the next 10 years he did some administrative work for Vail, serving as the project manager for Vail’s new police building, built in 1990.In 1998 Jeff was transferred to Avon to serve as Chief of Police.”It was really hard to leave Vail. I’d been there for a long time and I’d really grown up in policing while there. But the personal and professional growth opportunity to come to Avon, given what Avon was facing growth-wise, was too large to pass up,” Jeff says.Jeff’s list of accomplishments and involvement in the community is lengthy and quite diverse: He’s coached youth basketball and baseball and most recently has refereed for the high school basketball team. Jeff is involved with the Mountain Top Ministries that hold services on top of Beaver Creek Mountain during the winter months, he’s on the board of his church, Mount of the Holy Cross Lutheran, where he also plays the drums in the church band. He’s on the board for the Buddies Program, the Eagle County Youth Coalition, and for Boy Scout Troop 231. Jeff is on the EMS public safety council and also serves on the local advisory committee for Colorado West Mental Health. If that isn’t enough, Jeff has been busy organizing a carnival that will benefit Boy Scout Troop 231, the Buddies Program and the Bond-McCoy Volunteer Fire Department. The carnival will be cavorting into Avon on June 3.One of the hardest things about Jeff’s job, he says, is dealing with the victims of crimes or people who are facing hard times in their lives.”Police officers see people at their worst, in their worst moods, with no makeup or with it running all over their face,” Jeff says. “I expect my officers to put themselves in peoples places and to really think about how they would want to be treated in that situation and act accordingly.”This is only part of the reason why he’s involved with so many committees and boards: for the networking and connections it allows him with the community and other emergency service providers.”Being plugged in to so many different groups is really helpful in my position. I’ve tried to keep it fairly diverse and I’ve found a lot of crossover,” Jeff says.Those that know Jeff well are aware of his concerned nature and his willingness to be involved in countless places in the community.”Jeff really cares about community members; he’s involved in so many things,” says Vail Chief of Police Dwight Henninger. “He does an incredible job as Chief of Police for Avon; he’s an innovator and a leader in the law enforcement community.”Jeff’s pastor of 11 years, Carl Walker of Mount of the Holy Cross Lutheran Church, agrees full-heartedly with Jeff’s incredible commitment level.”Jeff is one of the few people I can call on to lead a worship service for me. He’s one of those people that doesn’t say ‘no,’ if he can help you, he will. He has a real heart for kidshe’s concerned about the future and well-being of our children and future generations, he wants them to have the types of services that will help them to develop into the best people they can be,” says Walker.Jeff has a lot to be proud of; he’s worked on the Emergency Medical Service Safety Council and a couple of years ago was instrumental in developing a Prevention Council which has had an incredible impact on the community with Camp 911, the “Think First” campaign an injury prevention program, and a distracted driving program. The distracted driving program recently did a presentation this spring at all the High Schools in the valley, which included a skit and a kid that had survived a distracted driving accident that killed a friend of his.”I’m really proud to be involved with this, these guys have really taken it to a level that I never dreamed of when I was working to put it together,” Jeff says.”Right now in the valley the public safety agencies are entering a period of unprecedented collaboration and cooperation. It’s really gratifying to be a part of that all of us working together to put together a seamless network of public safety services for everybody in the community. I haven’t ever seen this level of cooperation in my 24 years,” Jeff says.With Jeff’s tendency to try to pack 25 hours worth of activity into every day, he’s thankful for the things that keep him grounded: his wife Barb and their two children, Nicole, 17, and Zac, 14, and his church.”The quality of life in this valley is second to none. I’m challenged by my job every day. I met my wife here, I’ve been in the same house for 18 years. I’ve never even thought about leaving,” he says.
Support Local Journalism
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User