Van Beek: Leadership starts at the top |

Van Beek: Leadership starts at the top

Nothing is more precious to us than our family, friends and community. With so much turmoil going on in the world, we are grateful every day for the life we share, living in what many consider to be “Happy Valley.”

Yet, most are unaware of what it takes to keep this community safe. Like a sci-fi movie, there is this seemingly invisible force against evil that protects us. Yet, it’s not all that mysterious. It’s about training, dedication, and leadership.

While news reports focus on the few who tarnish the reputation of the many, this valley has law enforcement leaders who not only protect our communities; they provide knowledge, training and direction for others. In fact, our law enforcement leadership in Eagle County is quite unique in that every member holds impressive positions across the state, nation and globe.

Dwight Henninger, Vail Police Chief, is president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. IACP is the largest professional association for police leaders in the world, with over 31,000 members in 165 countries. It was founded in 1892 with a focus on advancing safer communities through research, programming and training. Members keep current on all changes in law enforcement procedures and connect leaders on establishing best practices across multiple disciplines. Eagle County is privileged to have such a distinguished member within its law enforcement team of professionals.

Greg Knott, Basalt Police Chief, is president of Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police. CACP is dedicated to establishing progressive and innovative strategies, based on professionalism, loyalty, honesty and integrity. Its members take pride in serving the unique needs of Colorado through an open atmosphere of communication, public awareness, and evolving methods of establishing public trust and confidence, through training and other professional development programs. Knott leads by example and our county benefits from his dedication.

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Greg Daly, Avon Police Chief, is on the board of the Colorado Peace Officer Standards & Training. CPOST is a unit of the Criminal Justice Section of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Law enforcement policies and procedures are evolving, but the standards, training and ethics remain constant. There must be consistency of skills across the entire state. These methods must be monitored and guided to maintain levels of excellence, in addition to serving unique community needs. It includes advanced training programs on emerging issues, including anti-bias, DNA and witness protection issues. Officers also work with local government agencies, nonprofits and universities throughout the state.

This vital work is accomplished by leaders like Daly, who bring a level of professionalism and expertise to the position that is difficult to match. In addition, Daly is on the board of the Organizing Committee of the FBI National Academy. The FBINA has an extensive selection and vetting process. Only a few make the cut for this 10-week training program at Quantico, Virginia. Applications are submitted from around the world. Being one of those empowered to lead is a statement to the degree of respect the FBINA places on Chief Daly.

Joey Staufer is Eagle Police Chief and was a former board member of CACP. He is actively involved with advisement on immigration issues, and on the county’s public safety board. However, his passion is in working with the youth of Eagle County. He is on the Board of Mountain Youth, an organization dedicated to understanding, engaging, empowering and transforming the lives of young people across the county. There are challenges common to all young people, and some specific to the state, with others that are unique to our resort-based community. Sometimes the exposure to the behavior of those who are vacationing in the area is quite different from the reality in which they actually live, yet that distortion can impact our local youth. As one who grew up in Eagle County, Staufer understands the unique pressures that coming of age can present in this valley. We are lucky to have his experience and dedication to the safety and well-being of our most precious element of this valley, our children.

Along with my duties as sheriff of Eagle County, I also serve as 2nd vice president (formerly secretary and treasurer) of the County Sheriffs of Colorado. CSOC provides enhanced technical training programs for sheriff’s offices across the state, in addition to legislative and policy development. It offers sheriffs the latest information of equipment and procedures, designed specifically for the unique needs of Colorado. Its leaders partner with other organizations across the state that include fire chiefs, the Attorney General, Search & Rescue, Victims Assistance, Public Safety and Police Chiefs Associations. All, have the common element of making huge personal sacrifices to provide multiple layers of safety to their communities. They offer the next level of training to expand the overall expertise of law enforcement. I’m also an FBINA graduate.

We wanted to let you know that the ‘invisible force of protection’ is not accidental. Given the seriousness of our mission, to protect and serve, we are exceptionally dedicated to enhancing our skills and offering leadership to those who receive “the calling” to place the safety of others above their own. It requires a level of training and dedication that exceeds expectations. We hope to live up to the honor you give us by letting us serve the community. For that, we are continually thankful.

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