APD Chief introduces new employees, briefs council on active shooter hoax

Alamosa Police Chief Ken Anderson (far right) introduces new members of the Alamosa Police Department, from left to right: Tim DeLett, Javier Moreno, Tina DeSanti, Kolton Hollis, Pedro de Pedro Pablo.

ALAMOSA – The Alamosa Police Department had a significant presence at the Alamosa City Council meeting this week as officers lined the walls of council chambers while five new police department staff members were introduced to council members.

Javier Moreno, Tina DeSanti, Kolton Hillis, Pedro de Pedro Pablo and Tim DeLett are all new recruits with three assigned as patrol officers, one hired to be a community services office and the force’s first co-responder. Alamosa Police Chief Ken Anderson introduced them individually.

Hillis, born and raised in Alamosa, graduated from Alamosa High School and then Adams State University with a degree in criminal justice. He also attended the police academy at Trinidad State College. Hillis will serve as a patrol officer.

Born and raised in Arizona, Tina DeSanti graduated with a degree in business from Grand Canyon University. Upon moving to Alamosa, she attended the police academy at TSC. DeSanti has always wanted to be in law enforcement, inspired by her mother who has worked in law enforcement for more than two decades.

Javier Moreno was born and raised in California. After moving to Alamosa and graduating from Alamosa High School, Moreno graduated with a degree from BioTech in advanced diesel technology. He is also a graduate of TSC’s police academy.

Pedro de Pedro Pablo grew up in Alamosa with his parents, who are both from Guatemala. Upon graduating from Alamosa High School, Pedro attended TSC where he earned his associate’s degree and graduated from the TSC police academy. Pedro, who will serve as a community resources officer, speaks three languages; English, Spanish and Q`anjob`al (a language spoken in Guatemala).

 

Tim DeLett was raised in the Shenandoah Valley, Va. His earliest memories of the valley were visiting his relatives in Creede. DeLett attended Adams State University and graduated with a master’s in counselling in 1992.  He has been hired as APD’s first co-responder, an addition to the staff that came after Anderson advocated for creation of the much-needed position to assist on calls involving mental health issues.  DeLett is already a known entity to many in the community, having worked with a variety of organizations including Tu Casa, PALS and Behavioral Health.

Council members each offered their welcome to the new officers.

Jan Vigil welcomed all the “home grown” new employees, one of whom was a former student. Vigil also called attention to the importance of having Pedro de Pedro Pablo, who is Guatemalan, on the force in recognition of the number of people originally from Guatemala who live in Alamosa.

Charlie Griego made mention of how educated the new officers are and Dawn Krebs praised the new officers, saying she “was in awe” of people who make the conscious decision to stand up and serve in a difficult profession.

Mayor Ty Coleman briefly discussed the importance of TEAM — Together Everyone Achieves More — and praised the new hires for being valuable members of the APD team.

Police chief touts department’s response to active shooter hoax

Later on in the meeting, Anderson briefed the council on the active shooter hoax at Alamosa High School earlier this week, prefacing his comments by saying the incident was under investigation with both outside and federal agencies so only limited information could be shared at this time.

“You all send us to training, and there’s a reason for that,” he said. “I can’t take credit for how the guys and gals responded. I was there but my role is different now than it was when I was an initial responder. But I can tell you that your department is very dedicated and did a fantastic job.”

Anderson went on to explain that, although it’s not mandated, the department is trained twice a year in an “active shooter” situation, a class that Anderson taught for ten years himself.

In terms of the department’s response, officers were on the scene within a minute, which is “pretty decent when there’s an active shooter,” said Anderson. They then proceeded to thoroughly search the entire building, including “every classroom, bathroom and closet.”

After every incident, APD does a review to see what they can learn from their response and what they can do better in the future.

“This department is above standard,” Anderson said.

The chief made a point of expressing his thanks to “all the other agencies across the valley for their support” as well as giving a “shout out” to Alamosa High School Principal Andy Lavier who has reached out to see how the school can respond better and displaying an openness to Anderson’s suggestions.

Griego mentioned he had received numerous phone calls from parents who were “traumatized” by the event and wanted to know if or when they will be informed about “what happened.”

Anderson said his agency sent out a press release that explained what they were free to explain at this time, adding that Lavier would like to debrief with staff and the police department to examine how the high school staff responded.

Several other council members expressed their gratitude and appreciation for APD’s response to a highly stressful situation. City Manager Heather Brooks further commended APD agents for their professionalism in the incident, adding that some of the officers had children in the building, which illustrates just how difficult it can be to serve in law enforcement.

In terms of public response, there was discussion about rumors being spread on social media that only added to the already high level of stress. The consensus was that members of the public be advised to only re-post official updates of the incident as distributed by agencies directly involved.

Anderson also shared that the Colorado State Patrol had received “hundreds of calls,” including someone who claimed “the police are not responding” and he was going to go to the school and respond himself.

Anderson stated that members of the public should never attempt to be involved in the response as that only increases the likelihood that someone will be hurt unnecessarily.

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