Roy Lane, Cortez’s longtime police chief, dies

by 4cfp | December 21, 2019 11:52 am

Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane, who until his recent retirement was the longest-serving police chief in the state of Colorado, has died after a lengthy illness. A memorial service and reception will take place beginning Saturday, Dec. 28, at 3 p.m. at the Cortez Recreation Center, which will be closed to regular use at that time.
The municipal courtroom in the city was renamed in Lane’s honor by the Cortez City Council on Dec. 10.
In June 2016, Lane was presented with the Charles K. “Pat” Steele Award, which recognizes outstanding officers in Colorado and was named for a late Loveland police chief renowned for his inspirational leadership.
Nominees “must have maintained high personal and professional standards,” state the criteria of the Colorado Association of Police Chiefs, and “holding forth these values and ethics at times of unpopularity, difficulty and adversity shall cause greater consideration.”
And given those considerations, Lane was a slam-dunk.
In a letter of nomination, Bayfield Marshal Joseph McIntyre noted that Lane had been a police officer 50 years at the time, 41 of those as a chief. “He has earned the respect and admiration of his staff, community and his colleagues from the South West region,” McIntyre wrote.
Among other challenges during his tenure, Lane had shepherded his department through one of the toughest times imaginable, the murder of Patrol Officer Dale Claxton. In 1998 Claxton was ambushed by a self-styled survivalist wielding an automatic rifle, one of three suspects who also shot and wounded officers from other agencies while fleeing into the wilds of Utah.
Lane helped lead the massive manhunt for the fugitives, counseled Claxton’s grieving family and eventually recruited Claxton’s son into the Cortez department.
Lane began his career in Winslow, Ariz., as a 21-year-old rookie and also served as chief in Holbrook, Ariz. He became Cortez police chief in 1981.

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