Until yesterday, the Limon (Colo.) Police Department had five law enforcers to protect and serve that rural town’s population of roughly two thousand people. At approximately 1810 hours on Wednesday, March 9, 2011, when a wanted felon murdered Officer Jay Sheridan, that town not only lost 20 percent of its police force, a wife and a child were brutally robbed of a loving husband and father. Sheridan was 27 years old and had been with Limon Police Department for six-and-a-half years.
Officer Sheridan was shot and killed as he and other officers attempted to serve an arrest warrant. As officers entered a mobile home where a fugitive subject lived, the man opened fire, fatally wounding Officer Sheridan. Two other officers on the scene remained in another room in the home and called for assistance.
More than four hours after the incident began, a SWAT team ripped an entire wall of the mobile home from its moorings and swarmed into the structure. They freed the two officers who had been pinned down, and discovered the suspect dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
State Trooper Heather Cobler told reporters that the mobile home park at which the shootings occurred is located about 90 miles southeast of Denver. Colber said also that at some point during the standoff that followed, the suspect killed himself. Cobler says his body was found hours later when a SWAT team made entry into the residence. A video news report about this incident is below and left.
In the ‘Expert Analysis’ sidebar column in the space at left, PoliceOne Columnist Dan Marcou writes, “This tragedy comes on the heels of the death of U.S. Deputy Marshal John Perry, during a felony warrant service on March 8th in St. Louis. U.S. Deputy Marshal Theodore Abegg was wounded in the ankle and Officer Jeff Helbling was wounded when a deflected round grazed his face.”
Already this year, 17 police officers have died by gunfire in 2011 — we have a sickening total of 38 officer deaths this year. In his analysis today, Dan writes, “Remember these fallen officers with your prayers and your increased vigilance.”
Back in late January, my friend and colleague, Dave Smith, eloquently wrote, “The year 2011 has already been a tough one for law enforcement fatalities — after a horrible 2010, I had hoped we would have some respite. We still may, but as I drove back from giving a talk at a leadership conference in Wisconsin I had an inspiration that may help us all be safer the rest of this year and beyond.”
Smith — who is the Senior Street Survival Seminar Instructor and the Director of Video Training for the Calibre Press Training Network — suggested that officers enter into in a ‘conspiracy of safety’ and pointed out that root of the word ‘conspire’ means literally ‘to breathe together.’ In that column, Dave suggested, “On the street, think to yourself, ‘Not today, not on this shift, not on this call, not on this stop — I will not be caught unaware!”
Dave offered the mantra of ‘Not Today!’ and police officers across the country have embraced it.
In a follow-up column a week laters, PoliceOne Columnist Betsy Brantner Smith — also a Street Survival Seminar Instructor — wrote, “They’ve brought the mantra, ‘Not Today’ into roll call, onto the street. They’ve even made posters and put handwritten sticky notes in their patrol cars with ‘Not Today’ underlined with an exclamation point! We really are entering into a conspiracy in this profession, regardless of department, assignment, shift, or even nation, we are in this together.”
One such officer offered me the picture at left as an illustration of how this is spreading.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends, family, and fellow-LEOs of Officer Jay Sheridan. Our efforts going forward in the wake of his murder are to embrace the mantra, and spread the word to officers everywhere, “Not Today!”
Meanwhile, back in Colorado, the name of the dead felon — who no longer poses a threat to the law enforcers and the law-abiding citizens of Limon — and details about the warrant being served have not yet been publicly released.
What we do know for certain is that no money will be wasted on his jury trial.
Agency Contact Information
Limon Police Department
100 Civic Center Drive
PO Box 9
Limon, CO 80828