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Cortez Police Chief Receives Award for 35 Years of Service

Lori Johnson

The Cortez Police Department turned out in full force to honor Chief Roy Lane – the state’s longest-serving police chief – at Tuesday’s  City Council meeting. Lane was presented with the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police Steele Award, which recognizes long-term professional and ethical contributions. Lane became Cortez’s chief in 1981 – 35 years ago. His daughters read aloud the letters of nomination, which came from people such as Durango Police Chief Jim Spratlen and Bayfield Marshal Joseph McIntyre. They praised Lane’s leadership, saying he was a “beacon of light” in 1998 during a massive manhunt for three men who had gunned down Cortez Officer Dale Claxton. During his tenure Lane was successfully treated for what was initially diagnosed as a terminal case of lymphoma. He said the officers who lined the council chambers Tuesday are “why I do what I do.”

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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