‘Social media crimes’ and sexual assaults among recent cases for Meeker Police

By Doc Watson
Special to the Herald Times
MEEKER | The Herald Times recently checked in with Police Chief Phil Stubblefield only to find out there’s more going on in our small community than what meets the eye.
Several cases over the last three or four months, for example, have been sexually related. Most of these have been juveniles with other juveniles and in some cases inter-family related. Those have required trips to River Bridge Regional Center in Glenwood Springs for the purpose of doing “forensic interviews.” Such an interview is a structured conversation with a child intended to obtain information about an event(s) the child has experienced or witnessed. Such interviews are essential to the investigation and prosecution of crimes against children.
“Most of those cases are complete now, the perpetrators in counseling, and the families aided,” Stubblefield said.
One particularly intensive case by one of our officers and the district attorney’s investigator—and which is still ongoing—involves enticement of a minor through pornographic request. There are other similar cases involving Instagram, which demonstrates the caution that should be observed in social media.
“Other than that, we have a couple DUIs a month and a couple of domestic violence cases a month,” Stubblefield added. “We also have a lot of social media type crimes, people fighting back and forth on Facebook who then come to us to solve the fight.”
Divorce and separation cases often overflow into the police department, as well. “One party, trying to get one up on the other party, report various things (to bolster their case),” Stubblefield said. “This (kind of thing) takes a lot of our time.”
The latter part of the famous adage, “To protect and serve,” is especially true in the small town police department, far more than it is (or even can be) in large cities.
“We’re case workers basically,” Stubblefield said. “People come to us with their problems and we try to help solve them. We get involved a lot of times when they don’t have family who can help.”
In addition to all that, there is still ongoing training for officers in such areas as firearms, arrest control and driving.
If there was one thing this interview demonstrated, it was that police officers, especially in a small community, do far more than what most people are aware. Our five-officer department, which is still one short of what is needed, according to Chief Stubblefield, and applicants are few, continues to protect and serve in ways we take for granted.