970 Grand County

Sheriff Schroetlin Shares Insights on Water Safety and K-9 Contributions

June 24, 2024 Gaylene Ore Season 3 Episode 45
Sheriff Schroetlin Shares Insights on Water Safety and K-9 Contributions
970 Grand County
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970 Grand County
Sheriff Schroetlin Shares Insights on Water Safety and K-9 Contributions
Jun 24, 2024 Season 3 Episode 45
Gaylene Ore

Have you ever wondered how to stay safe while enjoying the beautiful lakes and rivers in Grand County? Join us as we chat with Sheriff Shroetlin, who provides essential water safety tips that could save lives this summer. Sheriff Schroetlin shares crucial information about monitoring river flows and reservoir levels, the inherent risks of fluctuating water conditions, and the importance of self-preparation before embarking on any aquatic adventure. From checking your safety gear to utilizing resources like the LifeVest loaner stations from the Christopher Mullinex Water Rescue Fund, this episode is packed with actionable advice to ensure your water activities remain enjoyable and secure.

But that's not all—we're also giving you an inside look at the vital role of Grand County's K-9 unit in law enforcement. Meet K-9 Apollo, the newest addition to the team, and celebrate the retirement of K-9 Danny, who has served with dedication for years. Sheriff Schroetlin explains these incredible dogs' multifaceted duties, from drug detection to patrol, and how they help keep officers and the community safe. We also emphasize the importance of community support for these units and encourage you to stay connected through the Sheriff's Department's active social media channels. Finally, thank you to the deputies and the community for their strong partnership, which makes Grand County a unique and unified place to live.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever wondered how to stay safe while enjoying the beautiful lakes and rivers in Grand County? Join us as we chat with Sheriff Shroetlin, who provides essential water safety tips that could save lives this summer. Sheriff Schroetlin shares crucial information about monitoring river flows and reservoir levels, the inherent risks of fluctuating water conditions, and the importance of self-preparation before embarking on any aquatic adventure. From checking your safety gear to utilizing resources like the LifeVest loaner stations from the Christopher Mullinex Water Rescue Fund, this episode is packed with actionable advice to ensure your water activities remain enjoyable and secure.

But that's not all—we're also giving you an inside look at the vital role of Grand County's K-9 unit in law enforcement. Meet K-9 Apollo, the newest addition to the team, and celebrate the retirement of K-9 Danny, who has served with dedication for years. Sheriff Schroetlin explains these incredible dogs' multifaceted duties, from drug detection to patrol, and how they help keep officers and the community safe. We also emphasize the importance of community support for these units and encourage you to stay connected through the Sheriff's Department's active social media channels. Finally, thank you to the deputies and the community for their strong partnership, which makes Grand County a unique and unified place to live.

Speaker 1:

My guest today is Sheriff Schultland. We discussed the importance of water safety here in Grand County, as well as their new addition to their canine department, apollo. We recorded this podcast back in May, right after Memorial Day, but I thought it would be more appropriate to run it before the 4th of July, when we will have so many people up here enjoying our lakes and rivers, and thought that the tips that we received during this podcast would be really beneficial to all of our visitors as well as our residents. So step back and enjoy. Good morning, sheriff Shultland, Thank you for joining me today.

Speaker 3:

Good morning. Thanks for having me. I appreciate the opportunity.

Speaker 1:

You bet you guys had put out a release on water safety that's going to be really important throughout this summer.

Speaker 3:

You know it is Memorial Day is always the kickoff of the summer season. We had a lot of people up here this last weekend. Fortunately our system was busy but not crazy, but definitely a lot of people coming into the county and up in the campgrounds on the lakes. Grand County is busy kicking off 2024 summer.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely Well. And that brings us back to that point of water safety, which is so important because we have a lot of water up here and we have a lot of lakes and rivers that people like to recreate on.

Speaker 3:

We do. We see lots of activity on the lakes, a lot of activity on the rivers. You know it's one of the premier reasons people come to Grand County in the summer is the water recreation activities. From east side of the county to west side of the county it's all water-based.

Speaker 1:

Well, that brings me up to some questions I have to ask for you regarding water safeties. What measures is Grand County learning by monitoring the river flows and reservoir levels during this year's anticipated spring runoff season?

Speaker 3:

You know. So every year the sheriff's office emergency management, you know water quality everybody monitors these water flows and the water flows just kind of help keep track of the risks that maybe are going to present themselves. You know, when the lakes and rivers are lower, there's inherent risk. When there's higher lakes or faster water flows, there's risk with those as well, and so monitoring those helps kind of guide us and maybe some of our directional and our messaging and things like that to let people know some of the risks that exist.

Speaker 1:

And so what is the water level right now? Is it?

Speaker 3:

it's pretty high because of runoff, I would say you know we are not at peak runoff yet, but runoff is runoff is pretty high. You look at Byers Canyon I always use that as a good example and you know Byers Canyon is starting to flow more. It's not crazy high, but you know we'll hit. We'll hit that high here in the next few weeks as we still have snow up top. We'll definitely. You know we'll definitely see some more of that runoff for sure.

Speaker 1:

Right, and there's still a lot of snow up top.

Speaker 3:

There's a lot of snow up top. Yes, there is. We're still trying to ski, I think, a few places.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I had a friend ski yesterday. I was like really, so it's still there. But that leads me into my next question, which is what safety precautions should visitors and residents follow when enjoying Grand County rivers and reservoirs?

Speaker 3:

You know, I think the number one is take the time and study the area that you're actually heading. I think that's key is. You know, just like they say buyer beware, I say user beware. You know, just take the opportunity, read up some of the stuff online. We have the benefits of social media, which could be good or bad, but take advantage of some of those. Look at what some of our water partners or public lands partners put out, especially like BLM down in the Gore Canyon and stuff like that. Look at those and they're going to highlight some risk, highlight some dangers. Talk about what they're seeing. Those guys are true experts in their field.

Speaker 3:

And just take the minute before you rush out the door and self-study a little bit. And then, when you get there, do that tactical pause, as I tell people, and just make sure things seem right. Make sure that your boat or raft is working, that your PFDs are on and the right sized and functioning, that you have good safety equipment. You know a whistle flags, whatever it might be. Just take that extra second. We're all in such a hurry anymore in today's world that we just want to get done with work and get out and do something fun. But that extra couple of seconds is going to save lives, and so just we want people to have fun, but just think about what you're doing before you do. It is the biggest key.

Speaker 1:

Some great tips, like I didn't. I didn't think about having a whistle with me when I'm on the river, but that's a great idea.

Speaker 3:

A whistle. I even tell people some type of light device or something. A lot of people will clip a light device to their vest just because those strobe beacons and things like that is we're looking for you. It can help help really narrow you down Just because those strobe beacons and things like that, as we're looking for you.

Speaker 1:

It can help help really narrow you down Right, which you brought up about the personal flotation device, and not everybody brings those up. They just don't think about it, especially if they're on a boat. So you guys, I think, really have a cool program about how people can get those if they didn't bring them up with them.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely so.

Speaker 3:

The Christopher Mullinex Water Rescue Fund you know, obviously a tragedy 10 years ago has highlighted, obviously, the water safety risk and that family and foundation has done a great job of highlighting that, taking that tragedy and trying to make something as positive as they can out of that negative.

Speaker 3:

Have the LifeVest loaner stations at several places throughout the county so that if you forget a LifeVest for you or the little ones, grab a LifeVest from one of their loaner stations you know, grand Lake, town Beach, stillwater, boat Launch those places, grab one, use it for the day. All they ask is that you return it at the end so that somebody else can take advantage of it when you leave. But those are great options. You know, on busy weekends I see a lot of those out and about on the water which tells me that people are forgetting those. But we have a good ulterior source to make that happen and so, thanks to them, that's been a very, very substantial community-based program that they've done for many years and I'm actually just meeting with Dee Mullinex this morning to talk more about water safety and Christopher Mullinex Water Rescue. So those discussions are ongoing.

Speaker 1:

That's great. Yeah, I think people aren't used to be. They come up here and their friend has a boat or something like that and they just they maybe don't own one and it's important to have one on.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and when everything that you do in the water, you should have a, you should have a PFD for sure Our waters are cold, they're a lot bigger than they're, a lot bigger than what people expect.

Speaker 3:

You know it looks like you can swim a distance across, and so having that PFD is critical.

Speaker 1:

So that leads me into my next question, which what dangers are associated with the river when we have this increased flow and unstable conditions?

Speaker 3:

So. So rivers and lakes kind of both have their own, their own risk. Obviously, with the water flows it just makes it harder to be able to swim. We have a lot of underground currents, we have a lot of eddies or you know, under under, under under toes in our lakes and rivers, and so we want to make sure that you know when you're in those waters, you're paying attention to those which a lot of times there's no way to know until you're in one, and those underwater hazards. You know trees and snags, you know potentially fishing lines, things like that. That just rocks.

Speaker 3:

People every once in a while can get their foot caught in a rock. It's all that stuff that you can't see underneath of the water surface could be a risk. Your sandal gets caught up in between some rocks, you get caught up in in between some rocks, you get caught up in a in a, an underwater tree or something like that. Those are the things you want to. Just you want to be careful of, and I think that you know the key with that is knowing a little bit about the area. Like I mentioned before, having a buddy system, you know, don't go out there by yourself, but having a buddy system out there so that people know where you're at and what you're doing and then just talk to them about that safety plan of you. Know we never want to talk about the negative before the negative happens, but we also want to be prepared.

Speaker 1:

Right, it's amazing how powerful water is and I think if you just go up to Adams fall and you see how many trees go down, that that fall, the falls there is incredible. You just see how powerful it is and that debris ends up going into the lake falls there is incredible you just see how powerful it is and that debris ends up going into the lake.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely it does. You know, when we were kids, you know you'd take a small stick and you'd toss it in the river or something and you'd watch it go down. I still remember that, you know is that that water is going to take it where it's going to take it and we're going to have those, you know. I mean there's quite a bit of force behind that water, especially during high runoff.

Speaker 1:

What is Code Red and why should visitors and residents of Grand County sign up for it?

Speaker 3:

So Code Red is our current alert and warning system, and so it's really critical in times of any type of emergency in Grand County that impacts a lot of people, whether it be me as the law enforcement officer needing to put a neighborhood on evacuation status for a police incident or for fire, or we have some big weather related incident, code Red is our source for notifying the public of these issues, and so you can go to gcemergencycom and sign up for Code Red and basically put your information in, and then if we need to push out an alert to Code Red, then that is our official source for being able to do that.

Speaker 1:

You know, I just learned about that because when I travel to other destinations, I don't always think about emergency things that may happen. It's something now I'm going to be aware of when I'm traveling and I have to admit it's something that I need to do here as a resident of Grand County.

Speaker 3:

I would definitely get signed up for that. We used it a lot during these troublesome fire and during some of our previous fires. Code Red was what allowed us to make evacuation notifications to so many people so quickly. Which we can definitely credit with Saving Lives is that we had that information in the system that people had signed up for and our communications lieutenant was able to quickly push out those notifications to a lot of people really quickly, especially on the north end of the county up there.

Speaker 3:

I know it wasn't part of your initial question, but I'll touch on the second part of Code Red, which isn't Code Red but it's called IPAWS, and IPAWS is a new system by FEMA. It's a few years old now and it will actually, if I can create a geographic barrier, say around Grand County and anybody that's on a cell phone in Grand County, we can actually send what's called an IPAWS notification out as well. And so Code Red you have to sign up for IPAWS is anybody within our geographic area that we select, and so during emergencies, depending on the emergency and depending on our needs at that time.

Speaker 3:

We could use one or both. But the good thing is is, for people that maybe are up here for one weekend, that have never heard of Code Red or not signed up for Code Red, ipause is a great backup Because we are able to basically highlight an area maybe it's a mile or two radius, maybe it's the whole county and then any cell phone that enters into that geographic fence or anything anybody that's already in that geographic polygon would get notified.

Speaker 1:

Wow, I didn't know that that existed. That's fantastic yeah.

Speaker 3:

And we try really hard to not use that a lot because we really want people to know that when that does go out, it's obviously a critical incident and we need to get them aware. It's very similar to what they do for the Amber Alerts is. It overrides all of those alerts on your phone, gives you that loud, pesky alert, but you know that something is there and you have to actually override it. And so we do have the ability at the sheriff's office and emergency management to to push those out if we need to.

Speaker 1:

OK, knock on wood, I'm. I haven't had one of those yet from the counties. That makes me feel good.

Speaker 3:

You should feel good, because we don't use them very often at all and if we do use them we try to use the most smallest geographic area as we can. Sometimes it's on a police incident. If we have a pursuit or something like that that has ended in a location, maybe we'll let those residents within a mile or two know of that area. But we try not to push out the county wide winds unless we actually have to.

Speaker 1:

Okay, well, that's good to know. Thank you for informing us of that. You bet Capability. So let's go into a topic that I found really interesting when I was reading our local newspaper the other day about the K-9 unit here in Grand County. What does K-9 actually stand for?

Speaker 3:

unit here in Grand County. What does K-9 actually stand for? So K-9, where we use the letter K and the number nine, is obviously a police version of K-9, which is dog. You know you have the K-9, which is C-A-N-I-N-E or dog. So K-9 has always kind of been around law enforcement K-9 units or public safety K-9 units, and so that is our dogs and our handlers that perform public safety functions to support the sheriff's office in our community.

Speaker 3:

Currently we have four dogs in Grand County. Three of those dogs are grant funded and so very, very generous through the JAG grant and some other grants that fund our dogs. Our dogs are used across Grand County and across the region to assist as needed. They each have a drug specialty so they sniff for drugs, and then three of the four of them have a patrol component as well, so they can keep our officers safe.

Speaker 3:

They can search for suspects, they can search buildings, they can search cars. They can obviously be the faster four-legged friend if we need to chase a suspect. They're basically a force multiplier in law enforcement. You know, we use their dogs for their nose. We use their dogs for their nose and their agile abilities and so if we're searching for a suspect in a field or, you know, up in the forest or something. Those dogs are able to do that a lot quicker and a lot safer than what our officers can do, which ultimately saves taxpayer money versus me having to have 20 cops out there for 12 hours. Those dogs can search an area a lot quicker than our humans can.

Speaker 1:

That's amazing. So you just introduced a new dog to your unit, which is Canine Apollo. Tell me a little bit about Canine Apollo.

Speaker 3:

Tell me a little bit about K9 Apollo. So we actually just got K9 Apollo from Next Level K9 in Utah. He has partnered with Sergeant Upsall, who is our K9 supervisor. They just finished up their training program and then just finished up some of their certifications and so, as you saw in the newspaper, they just hit the road, and so our goal is to have those dogs out there and available. They do a lot of things for our community. People, just like you know, people love dogs, and so those dogs are a great opportunity. Number one for us to interact with the community. Number two, as I mentioned before, for us to use those abilities of those dogs to better the community.

Speaker 3:

Canine Apollo is on the road. He replaces Canine Danny. That was a longtime partner of Sergeant Upsaw, who retired just due to age, and so Canine Danny is living the happy life at home right now while Apollo takes his place, and so you'll see him. You'll see Canine Milo, you'll see Canine Jack and Canine Freya out on the road. All of our canine deputies cars are marked, and so you'll see the canine logo on the side of them, and they're out there doing great things for the community. I'm very thankful that the community is so supportive of them because they do do great things.

Speaker 1:

Yes, so they do retire eventually and it sounds like they get a pretty nice life after that, after all the hard work they do.

Speaker 3:

They do, they become that true partner of those deputies, as they're driving around for 40 plus hours a week, you know. And K-9 Danny had many, many years and so he gets to enjoy kind of the dog life for once. Those dogs go through a lot of, a lot of training. Our officers train many, many hours every month to meet state and national standards. They carry a minimum of two different certifications at a time at the regional and national levels. So each one of those dogs has been trialed and tested. And then the amount of documentation that has to be kept for court cases and other things down the road is time intensive as well, but the benefit far outweighs everything else.

Speaker 1:

Sheriff Strotland tell me how people can find out more information about the Sheriff's Department and what you guys are doing and road closures and all of that stuff.

Speaker 3:

So I encourage people number one to follow our social media pages. We have an active Facebook account, Instagram account and Twitter account. We spend a lot of time and effort making sure that our citizens are up to speed on all sorts of things on those accounts from current happenings, things that we're actually working to safety concerns, a lot of discussion on mental health and other mental health crises and resources. Our goal is to be that good communication source for the community, whatever that might be, and so you'll see the road closures on there, Like I said, the mental health Use, those social media accounts. I believe we just hit 20,000 people following our page, which has come up a lot in the last few years as we continue to really try to build that. I know there's a lot of the Denver news outlets that follow that, a lot of our media partners that follow that.

Speaker 3:

Grand County is busy. There's a lot happening here and we want to let the community know the good things and then, unfortunately, sometimes the bad things that happen in our community. But the ultimate goal is to keep people informed, so follow those. Depending on the situation, we put out press releases as well that hit the local media. But the biggest thing that we have besides all of that is all of our deputies on patrol. We're really a traveling billboard, and so if you have a question about our community, stop and ask one of our deputies. They're all happy to talk to you. They're all happy to answer questions, give you directions on where to go, or feel free to contact our office where to go, or feel free to contact our office.

Speaker 1:

Well, yeah, I use your social media outlets all the time. It's extremely helpful on what's happening, and if I'm going somewhere and know that a road is closed, I need to find an alternate way. So you do a really great job and I just want to thank you and your deputies for everything you do for Grand County. I know it's a lot and it's really appreciated.

Speaker 3:

We really appreciate to hear that. Thank you, and we're very fortunate to live in Grand County and have such a great partnership with our community. You know, as I travel around to different places, that's not always the case, and I come home to Grand County and it's always the case. So thank you.

Speaker 1:

Oh, thank you. I appreciate your time and I know you got a busy day, so thank you again. Thank you, have a good day.

Water Safety in Grand County
K-9 Unit in Grand County
Community Appreciation for Law Enforcement