Center Police Department proposes ‘Race the Cop’ solution

Photo by Patrick Shea Center Interim Police Chief Aaron Fresquez debriefed Saguache County Commissioners on their proposed ‘Race the Cop’ event during a meeting on Aug. 2.

CENTER — Interim Center Police Department Chief Aaron Fresquez met with Saguache County Commissioners on Aug. 2 to receive permission to host a drag-racing event this year.

Chief Fresquez explained how this is part of a strategy to reduce street racing on town and county roads around Center. The commissioners approved the concept with conditions.

Using Leach Airport is an ideal solution, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not given final confirmation. In fact, the airport manager has had to chase racers off the runways already. The other option is Saguache County Road B between 49.5 and 50 but racing side-by-side on the narrow road with steep ditch drop-offs is risky.

As Fresquez explained, “The idea for this event is to allow for something more controlled so we can tell the youth — there’s really nothing in Valley for youth to do — if you guys do this outside this event, we can’t do a controlled event again. You’re going to get cited. You’ll go to jail.”

Fresquez said participants would pay a fee — less than $10 but yet to be determined. They would need to show proof of insurance before race day, and they need to sign a waiver. The legal liability for the county concerned commissioners, and County Attorney Brad Crowell will examine the proposed liability text.

“They do this in the Denver area all the time,” Fresquez noted. “Colorado State Patrol does it. Douglas County does it. Jefferson County does it. But they have a race track, so they can host bigger events.”

The format of the “Race the Cop” competition begins with tournament brackets. Participants who lose the first race can choose to pay to race again but only once. After the bracket narrows down to a final winner, the racer faces a Center PD officer driving the K9 Unit Chevy Tahoe or the department’s Charger.

The race day date will be announced if and when conditions are met and a race track is determined.