MEEKER I After 40 years experience in law enforcement, 17 of which were invested here in Meeker, Police Chief Bob Hervey has retired, passing the torch to another long time police officer, Phil Stubblefield.
Born and raised in Denver and always wanting to be in law enforcement, even from an early age, Hervey served 23 years on the Aurora Police Department as a patrolman, actually preferring that position, not really coveting higher ones.
He also served his country in another way prior to law enforcement, spending four years in the Marine Corps, 13 months of which were in Vietnam as a radio operator.
“After retiring from Aurora and doing some other things, I decided I wanted to get back into law enforcement,” he said. “We came to Meeker on a whim really. I didn’t even know where Meeker was for sure. We saw an ad, drove up here and loved the town and people right off the bat.”
He applied for a position here and served as a patrolman for a year under then chief Si Woodruff. Then Hervey and his wife Gail decided to try running a retirement home. They did so first at Mesa View in Grand Junction for a year and then Sunridge in Colorado Springs.
Ironically, however, Woodruff called Hervey one day wondering how he was enjoying the work and mentioned a job opening in case he wanted to come back.
“I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I thought I would,” Harvey responded somewhat contritely. “Gail and I both were sorry we had even left Meeker, so we returned in 2000 with me back in a patrol position.”
Woodruff later told Hervey of his plans to run for sheriff, so Hervey decided to apply for the chief’s position, was selected in 2003 and has served there ever since.
That position was very challenging for him. He had been in supervisory positions in other fields but never in law enforcement.
Hervey and his wife are now headed to Abilene, Texas, where their two children, Mike and Jennifer, and six grandchildren live.
“We plan on going down there to spend some time with all of them and enjoy our retirement,” he said. “We love Meeker and could gladly spend the rest of our lives here, but it will be nice to be with family down there.”
Hervey’s unhesitating response to the questions of what has been his favorite part of living in Meeker and what he will miss the most was, “The people. There are so many good people here. In my line of work, most of the time, I see people at their worst. This was especially true in Aurora—I never got to see people at there best. But here I have.”
Some 40 people attended Hervey’s retirement party on April 11 at the Town Hall. Included in that number were his wife of 48 years, his children and his sister Linda.
After receiving a $150 gift certificate from Mayor Regas Halandras—Hervey will also be receiving a commemorative shadow box containing his badge—he shared a few thoughts.
“I always wanted to be a cop, even when I was a little kid in grade school, and Linda was the perfect target for me to practice my wrist locks on,” he began with a laugh.
He turned then to thanking many of those who were in attendance for their aid over his years of service to Meeker, including: Patti Hoke, Kathy Sizemore, the attorneys, the personnel at Town Hall and the officers who worked for him.
A special thanks went to Si Woodruff, former police chief and former Rio Blanco County Sheriff. In dramatic contrast to policing Aurora, Woodruff taught him about the very different world of small town law enforcement, which was a much more relaxed atmosphere.
“Even though I am older than Si, he has been a mentor to me,” Hervey said.
He also paid tribute to the man who will be succeeding him as chief, Phil Stubblefield.
“Phil came in thinking I would retire in two or three years but stayed by my side for seven years,” he said. “Phil did everything I could ask of a lieutenant and made it a much easier seven years.”
Hervey concluded with his praise of the many talented people he has worked with, remarking with a chuckle that he really doesn’t have a talent. He added that an unidentified person once teased him by saying, “Bob, we know you have a talent; we just don’t know what it is.”
Hervey’s heartfelt response was, “Well, I found out what it is. It’s my ability to associate with good people.”
With that, he concluded, “Thank you very much,” and all of Meeker thanks him as well for his years of living the motto: To serve and protect.