Meeker native honored for police heroism
Fort Collins Department honors officers who rescued child hostages
A perfect storm was brewing in Fort Collins the night of Jan. 12.
As officers scurried to respond to a triple homicide, trouble was bubbling up in another part of town. A woman and her two young children had locked themselves in a bedroom, fearing they would be shot by her gun-toting husband. The man also promised to shoot at police.
As a member of the SWAT team, Meeker native and veteran officer Doug Smith of the Fort Collins Police Department was at the front end of a battering ram that he and fellow officers used to break down the home’s door. The rescue earned Smith and his comrades the Medal of Valor, one of the department’s highest honors. The award was given to Smith and eight other officers at a ceremony May 20 in Fort Collins.
“His whole family is proud of him,” said Smith’s wife, Jennifer.
Smith has nearly 15 years on the Fort Collins police force, but he started his career working at the Rifle Police Department.
According to the Fort Collins Police Department, the suspect knew police and SWAT tactics and soon discovered the woman had escaped the home, leaving the two children behind.
The man was seen walking around the home, and he had fired a shot inside.
While negotiators talked to the suspect on the phone, Smith and his crew developed a plan to rescue the children. Just as officers burst through the door, the suspect had moved to the kitchen and stayed there as police sought and removed the children. The man eventually surrendered.
“He was a valuable part of the team that helped rescue the kids,” police spokeswoman Rita Davis said of Smith. “We were stretched that night, and team members worked in lots of different capacities.”
Like the Fort Collins department, Grand Junction police train for SWAT team duties in addition to their regular duties, Davis said.
Jennifer Smith said her husband was “too humble” to talk to a reporter about his role in the rescue, but she said the incident was “an intense evening.”