Memorial slated for New Castle’s chief of police

Chris Sadler

The town of New Castle is still coming to grips with the unexpected loss of a police chief who practiced a welcome, small-town policing style.

Chris Sadler died Saturday at Grand Valley Hospital and Medical Center in Rifle after collapsing at his home earlier that day. He was 52.

New Castle Town Council member Bruce Leland said he heard Sadler hadn’t been feeling well, and that the assumption was that he may have suffered a heart attack, although he hadn’t heard confirmation of that.

He said Sadler had been on the job during the previous week.

“This was sudden, unexpected, shocking and highly distressing,” Leland said.

Walt Stowe, spokesman for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, said in a news release Thursday that area law enforcement officers and others who knew Sadler are mourning his passing.

Stowe said a memorial service will be at noon Saturday, March 29, at Coal Ridge High School on U.S. Highway 6 between New Castle and Silt, following a motorcade procession. The service is open to the public.

According to an obituary posted on the town of New Castle’s website, Sadler joined the town police force as an officer in 1995 and was chief for the past 12 years.

Leland said Sadler was well-regarded by the Town Council.

“He would joke sometimes about the amount of time that he and the force had to spend dealing with dogs. It’s a small-town police force dealing with small-town problems,” Leland said.

He said Sadler and the rest of the force spent a lot of time helping families out in emergencies and calming difficult family situations without making arrests. With council’s support, Sadler pushed a community policing policy that involved getting officers out and being seen as supportive and helpful in the community.

For Sadler himself, that partly entailed showing up at the town’s weekly community market, helping vendors set up their tents, escorting customers back and forth across the street — “just very much being a part of the community,” Leland said.

Sadler was born in Baltimore, moved to Redstone in 1973 and graduated in 1978 from Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale. After being honorably discharged from the Army, he worked nine years at the Aspen Highlands ski area, where he met his wife, Marina, who he married in 1985.

He’s also survived by his mother, Lorraine; son and daughter-in-law, Jacob and Reba Sadler; brother, Les; and other relatives.

Donations to the Chris Sadler Memorial Trust are being accepted at all Alpine Banks.


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