Introducting SPEAR in Garfield County
April 6, 2023
Introducing SPEAR, the Special Problem Enforcement and Response team! You may have heard me talk about this team, but it recently became a reality. As you know, we have had our drug task force, Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT), for many years. In fact, it was the longest running drug task force in the state. We also had TAG, our threat assessment group that focused on gang activity in the region.
Of course, as time passes, so do the rules of the game and with the permissiveness and acceptance of drug usage in our state, drug enforcement has changed. However, we still know that probably 80 percent of crimes committed are either direct drug crimes or related to the illegal drug industry.
So, the police chiefs in Garfield County, our federal law enforcement partners, and I decided to rethink our focus and combined our specially trained officers and deputies to focus on the crimes being committed because of drugs, gangs, and other influences. In other words, cut off the head of the snake and investigate crimes that feed those problems in our communities.
SPEAR is a major crimes unit comprised of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO), Glenwood Springs and Rifle police departments, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Marshals Service, and a dedicated deputy district attorney. SPEAR’s mission is to assist all of our local law enforcement agencies with major crime investigations, since none of us have the ability to handle this type of investigation solely within our organizations.
The cases are based on “intelligence lead policing,” where our SPEAR analyst compiles data received from the local crime fighters, crunches the data, and if the criminal, the crime, or the location hit the top tier of the list, they get the full attention of SPEAR.
Since the two groups officially came together in January 2023, they have hit the ground running. In the first two months (January and February) SPEAR has initiated 17 cases, made 20 arrests, seized 10 stolen firearms, recovered nine stolen vehicles, and seized over 2,200 fentanyl pills along with additional drugs.
Even though Garfield County is a safe place to live, SPEAR is making it even safer, and the bottom line is, if you’re committing major crimes in Garfield County, SPEAR is coming for you!