The entire Cortez Police Department crowded into the city council meeting room at City Hall Tuesday as Chief Roy Lane was presented with the Charles K. “Pat” Steele Award.
Administered by the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), the Steele Award is given for long term professional and ethical contributions to law enforcement and the people of Colorado and is one of the highest honors the association bestows. It’s named for Chief Charles Steele, who served as chief of police in Loveland from 1947-1976.
Mayor Karen Sheek presented Lane with the award.
“It’s my great pleasure to give you this award,” she told Lane.
Every member of the police department, as well as family and friends, looked on as Lane received the award. The crowd also included other law enforcement personnel from other regional departments, including Montezuma County Sheriff Steven Nowlin and Mancos Marshal Jason Spruell. Lane was grateful for the support as he was honored.
“Seeing all the people standing here, that’s why I do what I do,” he said.
Lane’s career started in Winslow, Arizona. He became chief of police of Holbrook, Arizona before becoming Cortez chief in 1981, where he has served ever since. He is the longest-serving chief of police in Colorado. After the murder of on-duty Cortez officer Dale Claxton in 1998, Lane led a grieving department through a regional manhunt as law enforcement personnel from 75 different departments searched for Claxton’s three killers.
The award criteria for the Steele Award state that winners must be the chief executive of a Colorado government law enforcement agency who has served in that position for 10 years or more, according to the CACP website. Award winners also must have maintained high personal and professional standards and ethics and have worked to encourage and develop high professional values and ethics over the course of their career.
Following the award presentation, spectators congratulated Lane during a reception where, naturally, donuts were served.
Lane thanked city council members for their support. “I want to say thank you for tonight, it was special,” he said. “That’s why I’ve served 35 years and why I love living here.”