I offer up a challenge to the Basalt town government: Do several nighttime ride-alongs with your police officers. This will give you an idea of what is involved in police work in Basalt and give you an opportunity to get to know, appreciate and understand your officers.
Forgo "Dancing With the Stars" or Thursday-night football; put on your gloves and hat, go out and ride from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., and see the night world of policing.
You might get involved in one or several of the following calls for service:
• A car crash on Highway 82 with serious injuries.
• A driving-under-the-influence incident.
• Ambulance calls with CPR in progress or "not breathing."
• Domestic abuse with weapons involved.
• Sexual assault, robbery, assaults and drunks.
• Other agency assists with the Colorado State Patrol or the sheriff's offices of Eagle and Pitkin counties in Missouri Height or Thomasville.
• A fire call with flames and smoke visible.
• Prowler calls, thefts and stolen property - auto or bike; warrant arrests, suicidal individuals and unattended deaths.
With any luck, you will have experienced one or more of these calls firsthand.
Now do any of these calls alone due to cutbacks in funding and a shortage of officers, when your closest backup is driving time from Aspen or Carbondale, 10 to 15 minutes away. In addition, your workload has increased from 4,600 calls two years ago to 7,200 calls last year. This put additional pressure on the Basalt Police Department officers.
So there is my challenge: Do several ride-alongs, get to understand police work, and most important, get to know your Basalt officers. Appreciate them for what they do day and night for the Basalt community.