News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

Aspen cops become Big BuddiesASPEN An Aspen police car was parked in the circle Wednesday by the Pitkin County Courthouse when the Javier C., 8, pressed the button on the public address system and tentatively said, hello?A lady on the other side of the circle jumped half a foot and turned around. After that, Javier tried out the lights and siren for a bit while officer Matt Burg showed him the mechanics of a police car.It was part of what has become an annual tradition, during which Aspen police invite pairs of buddies from The Buddy Program to ride along with cops and then go out to dinner at Boogies Diner. It teaches kids about police officers, said Heather Hicks, program coordinator with The Buddy Program. It shows them that police officers are normal and nice.The Buddy Program pairs kids with older mentors in the community to encourage fun times, learning opportunities and interesting activities. Though buddies usually just hang out on their own, The Buddy Program sponsors activities such as the ride-along. The Buddies began Wednesday afternoon by riding around Aspen in a police car. A few of the buddy pairs pulled over traffic violators and could watch an officer in action. Police have a microphone on their hip that transmits audio into the car to coincide with a video camera that records whenever the lights are switched on. After the ride-alongs, a dozen or so pairs met at the Pitkin County Courthouse and some of the older kids went on a tour of the jail. At the call center, where operators take 911 calls, the dispatchers talked with the little buddies about when its OK to make an emergency call. The dispatcher then explained that its OK to call during a life-threatening emergency, fire or crime. The Little Buddies listened patiently and quietly, as dispatchers took the calls. For the kids, it was insight into an adult world that often seems distant.

BLM winter closures in effectGLENWOOD SPRINGS The Bureau of Land Management has closed certain areas to vehicles to help protect critical big-game range for the winter season.Winter closures on lands managed by the BLMs Glenwood Springs Field Office took effect Dec. 1 on Light Hill and the Crown in Pitkin County, in the East Elk Creek area in Garfield County and the Castle Peak area in Eagle County.In addition, the lower gate at the Transfer Trail above Glenwood Springs closed Dec. 6 to maintain snow conditions for snowmobiling. The BLMs Wolcott and Gypsum campgrounds are also closed for the winter and will reopen in spring when conditions allow.The BLM is continuing to allow motorized access through one gate at Windy Point near State Bridge and two gates in Gypsum Hills through Jan. 15 at the request of the Colorado Division of Wildlife. They are keeping the area open in hopes of facilitating more hunter harvest of elk.All of the areas continue to be open for nonmotorized recreation, such as hiking, snowshoeing, horseback riding and skiing.