A note from the Chief
Editor’s note: This letter was originally addressed “To Our Community from the Chief of Police”
The people of and visitors to the City of Aspen underwent a traumatic experience on New Year’s Eve as a result of the actions of Jim Blanning. The effects of this incident will be felt well into the future.
Firstly, I would like to express my very sincere regret that an incident such as this occurred in Aspen, which impacted so many people, and ended with the loss of a life. Our sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Jim Blanning.
I would like to offer heartfelt thanks to residents and visitors for their very high level of cooperation during this incident. These were very trying circumstances for everyone and your cooperation made management of this incident considerably easier. Thank you.
I would like to acknowledge the hardship this incident has caused to businesses in town and in our wider community. Clearly this was a major public safety incident that we had to take very seriously. From a responder standpoint, the incident concluded safely and effectively without any further loss of life or injury to our community. Please be assured that the Aspen Police Department’s primary concern was and will always be for public safety.
Management of such an incident is always evolving. As new information becomes available, the incident adapts its response. I understand that there are questions related to our methods and I commit to you that the Aspen Police Department will endeavor to answer all of those questions. We will be asking an outside agency to review the incident and provide and “After Action” report. Once a review is complete, the Aspen Police Department will strive to take lessons learned from this unfortunate situation to improve on future responses.
Finally, sincere thanks to all the responding police, fire, federal, state and civilian agencies as well as local volunteers that responded. Due to an accidental omission, the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department was not included as a responding agency in our press releases. I apologize for this and wish to offer particular thanks for their dedicated response. All of the responding entities are too numerous to list here, but please know that their vital help assisted our community in working through this incident.
Aspen police chief
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