Sergeant Tracy Thompson has been on the GV police force since for 30 years.
BY FREDA MIKLIN STAFF WRITER
On a late Monday afternoon in April, The Villager rode along with veteran Greenwood Village police sergeant Tracy Thompson during his regular shift. His job is to oversee six other on-duty police officers. Thompson had already been a law enforcement officer for five years when he started his career in Greenwood Village in 1988.
Asked what is unique about his city’s police department, Thompson said that customer service is highly emphasized at GVPD. He said it starts with hiring educated professionals as officers and training them to represent the city’s values. Every call to the police receives an immediate response, though they are prioritized during busy times. With available technology, patrol officers get immediate identification of license plates and even full DMV files on drivers they encounter.
The key to good police work, Thompson said, is carefully assessing situations officers encounter, something a computer cannot do. “Never assume anything,” he said. “Lots of folks think nothing happens in Greenwood Village, but anything is possible. People are people.”
As he drove around the city, into corners and dead ends in addition to busy streets, Thompson scanned the area for anything unusual. He came upon a person sitting in a parked car in the middle of an empty church parking lot. Thompson knocked on her window just to make sure she was all right. Happily, she was fine. Then a call came in about an altercation between a man and a young female in a parking lot at a different location.
Two patrol cars responded, and Thompson followed as the supervisor. Five police officers combed the area in and around the parking lot that the caller identified for the next half-hour, knocking on nearby doors and asking if people had seen or heard anything, before concluding that there was no evidence of a crime. It was a clear demonstration that being thorough is part of the job of never making assumptions.
Though the ride was mostly quiet, Sgt. Thompson said about an experience he’d had as a GV police officer that changed his life. On a rainy night in July 2000, Thompson, then 39 and his partner, 24, was called to investigate shouting that had been reported by concerned nearby residents. They found a young woman who had been stabbed to death in the presence of her 3-year old son, who was still in the room. The perpetrator was also there, and he still had the knife, which he refused to give up.
Thompson sprang into action, grabbed the child and moved him to safety, while his partner controlled the suspect, whom they apprehended, but not before shots were fired. Thompson received the Medal of Valor for his actions that night. Fourteen years later, he was contacted by the child he had saved, now 17 and living in another state.
A few months later, the boy came to Colorado to meet the police officer who had saved his life. Thompson gifted him with the Medal of Honor he had earned saving his life.
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