Veteran sergeant fills Interim Chief of Police role in Center

Photo by Patrick Shea At their board meeting on July 12, the Town of Center trustees approved filling the Interim Chief of Police position with department Sergeant Aaron Fresquez.

CENTER — Working in Center for 10 of his 13 years in law enforcement, veteran Center Police Department Sgt. Aaron Fresquez stepped into the role of interim police chief of CPD when former chief Dale Meek moved to Alaska.

“My plan is to continue on the same path he left us with,” Fresquez said. “We had a meeting yesterday, and everyone is on board. We’re a seven-man department right now.”

To fill his spot, Fresquez appointed Cpl. Joseph Roybal to the interim sergeant position. Another officer, Kendra Adolph, came to the department from her job at the Saguache County Jail. Adolph is currently learning law enforcement skills at the Flatrock training facility in Commerce City.

Closer to home, the Chief’s twin brother, Adam, and sister, A.J., are also on the force, a trio with roots in a strong law enforcement family. Their father, Robert Fresquez, was the Chief of Police in Del Norte for 33 years.

“I used to do ride-alongs with my dad and his guys for a really long time when I was old enough, and so did my brother Adam,” Fresquez recalled.

Along with adding more officers to match growth in Center, the K9 Unit continues to expand. Long before former Chief Meek arrived in 2019, Fresquez described an attempt in 2014 to start training and hiring police dogs. It didn’t work out. When Meek started, he wondered where the canine officers were.

“He said, ‘let’s work on that. Figure out what we need to do.’ We knew that funding would be an issue,” Fresquez recalled. “So, I did a lot of legwork asking local businesses for donations. I ended up raising $58,000. That started the unit.”

Fresquez travelled to North Carolina for training, and his brother, Adam, started an enterprise managing a pool of dogs. Although the Center Town Board has a budget for the program, the K9 Unit funds itself. It also offers new solutions to emerging problems. In response to school shootings, for example, a few police departments around the country have incorporated canine officers with their School Resource Officers (SROs).

In negotiations with the Center Consolidated School District, the department currently provides a part-time SRO and would like to train a dog “that will sniff out firearms and ammunition,” Fresquez explained. The dog would serve as another SRO and return to the police station to work during the summer.

Currently, Kitt and Argo are the two canine officers in the department. They’re both fully-training, dual-purpose canines that can identify narcotics and apprehend offenders.

“We’ve gone from no dogs to one dog, now two, and possibly three,” Fresquez recounted. “The program is self-sustaining. We receive town budget money, but when we buy and sell canines, that money comes back into the program. We’ve sold three canines already.”

On top of tackling crime, Fresquez noted the importance of community engagement. So far this summer, officers mingled with substantial crowds during festivities at Casa Blanca Memorial Park —live music in June and an Independence Day Celebration on July 2. Fresquez said he will continue the “Coffee with the Chief” tradition on scheduled Saturdays.

Another tradition in the making, the department will host its second annual K9 competition at 1 p.m. on July 23. Last year, six teams from different agencies competed in K9 challenges for dogs and their handlers. For updates, pictures, and more information about the Center Police Department, all the posts on the CPD Facebook page are open to the public.

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