Vail Daily column: Service in Harvey’s DNA
Calling the police has usually never been a positive thing for me. The first time I was assaulted on the job happened nearly five years ago in Utah. I had been incapacitated by my attacker and was fortunate to have a well-trained staff that knew how to respond to the emergency. The local police department responded quickly, for which I was grateful. Associating the police with this particular event still raises my heart rate every time I see an officer. I was grateful, but also scared. That fear and memory of violence from this event and others largely caused me to avoid the police for several years. I know they are on my side, but it was the association with the event that made me cautious.
In fact, until I moved to the valley, I viewed the police with what I considered to be a healthy suspicion of authority. I, like many of us, had heard exaggerated stories of inappropriate policing and use of power. I had decided that I would only have necessary contact with the police as a result.
This changed largely due to the professional actions of one Vail police officer in particular. Daric Harvey walked into my bank lobby some years ago, and I immediately felt the need to engage with him. He held himself taut, like a stretched rubber band, and his eyes had a maturity and intensity that immediately spoke to his professionalism. He was unassuming, in jeans and a button-up shirt, but it did not surprise me one bit to hear that he was a supervisor for the Vail police.
Several weeks later, during the busy winter season, I bumped into Daric again while he was on duty. I had been to dinner with friends and spotted Daric on the street speaking to a few other officers. We shook hands and spoke briefly, but I was again taken back by his perfect mix of professionalism and kindness. During the conversation, a call came in, and without hesitation Daric and the other officers moved on.
During the next six months, we exchanged contact info and spoke on several different occasions. Each time, my confidence grew in both his professional abilities and easy way with people. Not long thereafter, I would have a situation arise in which I had to call the police.
My staff, during my time as a bank manager, was my family. I am unmarried and childless at 30, but I’ve never felt alone as long as I have worked in Avon. My close relationships with all of my staff were both an advantage and disadvantage to our success as a team. When someone went after one of my team members, I considered it an attack on myself.
A few years ago, one of my staff called me one morning in a panic. I had known she had missed work, but a personal situation like the one she then described to me on the phone was beyond what I expected. I won’t go into details, but you need to know that it was dangerous for her, and also highly legally complicated. I didn’t know what to do.
I hurriedly pulled Daric’s card out of my wallet and called his office phone. A few minutes later, I was contacted by an officer, and then by Daric, to discuss the situation. I think he could tell I was upset and likely very angry. He and the other officer involved talked me down and then responded to the situation quickly. Officers took care of the situation for this young woman, and did so with a high level of professionalism, discretion and kindness. At first, I thought that Daric had done me a favor, but as I shared this positive story with my peers in other businesses, I found that this type of response from both Daric and other officers at the Vail Police Department was quite typical. He had provided me with exceptional “service,” if such a small word could describe it, but was also willing to do so for every citizen. It was part of his DNA. Now, with Daric Harvey running for Eagle County sheriff, I get to return his service with my vote.
Ben Gochberg is a commercial lender and business finance consultant. He plays, lives, works and is trying to do a little good in Eagle County. He can be reached for business inquiries or free consultation at 970-471-3546.