RANGELY | It’s no secret that America is in a law enforcement crisis. Police departments across the country are struggling to find enough qualified applicants for the jobs available. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics about 700,000 full-time sworn officers are working right now in the U.S. That is a drop of 23,000 officers since 2013.
After more than two months of the Town of Rangely being devoid of two of their veteran police officers (both on administrative leave due to the shooting investigation from Dec. 10, 2018) the department is happy to announce the hiring of Officer Jesse Leech.
Officer Leech is a Colorado native from Grand Junction and graduated from Central High School. Leech served in the United States Marine Corps (USMC) as an Infantry Squad Leader for nearly 10 years and was stationed in North Carolina. He credits the USMC for teaching him to have pride in a job well done, reinforcing connections to his community, and giving him an opportunity to see the world. With his family’s support, Leech graduated from the Technical College of the Rockies Police Academy in Delta, Colo., in 2018. Prior to his law enforcement endeavors Officer Leech worked in the oil field.
In a world where police departments and their officers are constantly being watched, scrutinized and often attacked, Leech listed several reasons he chose to become a police officer. He says that he had always looked up to and wanted to be a police officer since he was a young person. Leech was positively influenced by his school resource officer at Central High School in Grand Junction and he wanted to help others in the same way. Waiting until later in his life to pursue his childhood dream of having a career in law enforcement, he says now that he has seen the world and has more life experience, he feels that he is better suited than ever to be a law enforcement officer.
Rangely wasn’t the only department Leech applied to and interviewed at, but it was the only place that he felt extremely welcome. So far he likes the small town feel of Rangely and with hobbies such as hunting, fishing, hiking and camping he says he is in the perfect place. He looks forward to being in Rangely for as much of his career as he possibly can and hopes he will be able to make a positive impact in his new community.
By ROXIE FROMANG | Special to the Herald Times