RGSO continues to climb with training and a new drone

Courtesy photo: (L-R) Rio Grande County Sheriff Don McDonald, South Fork resident Albert Chapa and Sargent Investigator Tristian Van Zalinge display the departments new drone.

RIO GRANDE COUNTY- The Rio Grande County Sheriff’s Department was pleased to announce recently that a local citizen made a generous donation in the form of much needed equipment that will help with investigations and search and rescue missions. Rio Grande County Public Information Officer and Victim’s Advocate Courtney Arthur stated that both a drone and camera were donated to the department by South Fork resident Albert Chapa.

Chapa heard that the department was in need of this equipment and stepped up to the plate to donate. “We received a very nice camera and a Phantom 4 Advanced Drone. We are very grateful for the generosity of Albert. We have already used the drone to track a fugitive. It allowed officers to locate the individual and remain safe at the same time. It was an invaluable asset.” The name of the individual has not yet been released due to the on-going investigation.

Arthur also stated that the department is gearing up for some additional training in upcoming weeks which will help further officer involvement with the public. “The first training will be taking place next week and involves advanced domestic violence training and investigation as well as sexual assault investigations. Both will be very beneficial to our law enforcement here in the Valley. We will have presenters from Lakewood and Longmont, the District Attorney from our district as well as the District Attorney from the 9th district and the Victim Service Provider from Park County.”

The training will take place over Monday and Tuesday in Del Norte next week and will include training on how to appropriately respond in these specific situations. In addition to the advanced training, the department was also pleased to announce that Arthur has been asked to present for the annual Colorado Victim’s Advocate Association meeting which will be held online this year due to COVID.

“I will be presenting on a topic that is close to me; Victim’s Advocacy in Rural Communities-What Victim’s Really Want. I am excited to have this opportunity to represent our rural community and to discuss a topic that I have a passion for.”

Arthur has made waves in the department since she was brought on over a year ago. Arthur was the first victim’s advocate the county has had in several years and has brought new perspective to how the victim advocacy should look in rural areas.

Last but not least, the department will also be attending a training for Death Notification in November and will be welcoming the Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving as a keynote speaker.


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