Sheriff Rock's death was in the line of duty

May 1, 2015

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GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. – The name of Andrew J. Rock, the first elected Sheriff of Garfield County, will be placed on the Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial at Camp George West in Golden on Friday May 1, 2015. The Memorial acknowledges all “Line of Duty” deaths of Law Enforcement Officers throughout Colorado.

In a letter of request submitted to Keith Dameron, Historian for the Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial, Undersheriff Cornelius writes:

“Sheriff Andrew J. Rock (aka A.J. Rock) was officially sworn in and bonded on January 8, 1884 and was the first Sheriff of Garfield County. On July 17th, 1884, Sheriff Rock was returning to Glenwood Springs (county seat) after transacting official county business. Because of recent heavy spring runoff, raging waters of the Grand River (today known as the Colorado River) destroyed the only wagon bridge into Glenwood Spring and gaining access to the town was not an easy task. Sheriff Rock, while on horseback, attempted to cross on the Roaring Fork River side to get back to town. The rushing waters separated and swept Sheriff Rock and his horse away briefly, but Sheriff Rock was able to swim to shore and his horse surfaced alive on a small island of rocks in the area.

The next day, July 18, 1884, Sheriff Rock and one of his deputies returned to the river bank to retrieve his horse so he could continue his duties. Sheriff Rock swam across the river and successfully made it to the island where his horse was. Sheriff Rock and his horse then attempted to cross back over the Grand River from the island to only be overcome again by the raging waters. Sheriff Rock’s deputy watched in horror as he witnessed his Sheriff be swept underwater to never surface again. The deputy was able to immediately initiate search and rescue efforts but they were not successful in finding Sheriff Rock. A month later, on August 19th, 1884, Sheriff Rock’s body surfaced on the river bank over 20 miles down river near Rifle, Colorado.”

Keith Dameron, Historian for the Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial writes in his letter of approval for Sheriff Rock, “The tragic 1884 death of Sheriff Rock reminds us of the inherent dangers faced by all those involved in law enforcement work.”

The Garfield Sheriff’s Office will have three representatives at the Memorial Ceremony in Golden at 10:00 AM on Friday May 1, 2015.

More information will be released as it becomes available.