Former chief defends department

PHOTO BY CT-Sent as BILL GARDNER.



Former Grand Junction Police Chief Bill Gardner on Friday said the department remains a “model” Colorado law enforcement agency, despite the arrest over five weeks of two police officers who were hired under his leadership.

“I think any attempt to see a pattern or link is flawed,” Gardner said. “Unfortunately, in police work we are dealing with human beings, and certainly on my watch we did every conceivable background check in hiring those two men and a complete psychological evaluation.

“In spite of all that, and horribly so, we have two individuals who really let us down.”

At the same time, Gardner said he believed his longtime friend and successor, interim Police Chief John Camper, was “on the right track” when he expressed Thursday a need to re-evaluate the department’s hiring and officer-development process.

“When you go through incidents like this, you have to examine your practices,” Gardner said.

Officer Glenn Coyne, 35, was fired after his arrest Thursday on suspicion he sexually assaulted a woman in her home earlier this week.

The arrest was just more than two weeks after Courtney Crooks, 24, resigned. Crooks was arrested in late August on allegations of domestic violence involving his wife.

Gardner, 60, ran the department from May 2006 through Sept. 4 of this year and personally tabbed Camper for the interim chief’s position.

In a news conference earlier this year announcing his interim position, Camper indicated he was not interested in the permanent position.


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