Following the September 11th attacks on the United States in 2001 when our government declared war on Afghanistan, many members of the Denver police force were deployed overseas to fight for our country. On Wednesday, September 11th, 2019, the Denver Police Officers Foundation honored 12 members of the Denver Police Department who also served our country in the armed forces during that time.
Honoring the Officers Who Served in the U.S. Military
“Police officers who serve in the military learn about leadership, responsibility, stewardship, accomplishing a mission, and taking care of those with whom they serve,” said Lieutenant Kenneth Chavez. Lt. Chavez has served as a Denver police officer for 40 years and is the president of the Denver Police Officers Foundation. Lieutenant Chavez also applies this philosophy to his work with The Denver Police Foundation: “We provide aid to law enforcement across the city who are facing tough times. Our mission is to assist officers when they need it the most.”
The officers who were recognized at the DPOF luncheon included:
• Ret. Officer Dennis Awe currently serves as a civilian crash report technician in the Traffic Bureau. Awe served in the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Colorado Air National Guard during his deployment to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
• Lt. Kenneth Chavez is currently assigned to District 6. Chavez was mobilized on three separate year-long mobilizations in the aftermath of 9/11.
• Det. Jon Crowe is currently assigned to the Investigative Support Division. Crowe served in the rank of sergeant first class in the 220th Military Police Company, Colorado Army National Guard during his deployment to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
• Det. Eric Denke is currently serving in the Major Crimes Division, Safe Streets Task Force. Denke was mobilized on two separate occasions for Operation Enduring Freedom and for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
• Lt. Kevin Edling is currently assigned to District 3. Edling was mobilized on two separate occasions, for Operation Noble Eagle, and for Operation Inherent Resolve.
• Officer John Ha is currently assigned to District 6. Ha served in the rank of staff sergeant in the 302nd Forward Support Squadron, U.S. Air Force Reserve during his deployment to Kuwait for Operation Inherent Resolve.
• Officer Robert Martinez Jr. is currently assigned to District 1. Martinez Jr. served in the rank of sergeant in the 793rd Medical Detachment, 18th Airborne Corps, and U.S. Army Reserves during his deployment to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
• Det. John Robledo is currently assigned to the DEA Front Range Task Force. Robledo served in the rank of master sergeant in the 140th Security Forces Squadron, Colorado Air National Guard during his deployment to Qatar for Operations Freedom Sentinel and Inherent Resolve.
• Cpl. Karl Roller is currently serving in District 1. Roller was mobilized on two separate occasions for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
• Sgt. Joseph Vasquez is currently assigned to District 6. Vasquez served in the rank of hospital corpsman, 2nd Class with the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Division during his deployment to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
• Tech. Brian Wallace is currently assigned to Denver International Airport. Wallace served in the rank of sergeant first class in the Counter-intelligence Detachment, 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Colorado Army National Guard during his deployment to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.
• Det. Michael Wheeler is currently assigned to District 4 Investigations. Wheeler served in the rank of specialist – flight medic in G Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment, and Colorado Army National Guard during his deployment to Iraq for Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.
The foundation also took a moment to recognize and honor Denver police Officer Larry Wayne Pankey, who died on Oct. 3, 2005, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Officer Pankey was undergoing medical treatment after his deployment to Iraq and died from complications of a rare disease contracted while he was deployed and serving in the U.S. Army.
Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen
Police chief Paul Pazen also addressed those at the DPOF fundraiser. “In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, thousands of reservists and National Guard members across the country were mobilized and deployed. I would not be where I am today had it not been for my time in the U.S. Marines. The Marine Corps absolutely instilled the discipline that I needed as a young person in order to fulfill my current role.”
The Denver Police Officers Foundation
The Denver Police Officers Foundation (DPOF) is our city’s only organization devoted solely to providing emotional and financial support and assistance to Denver Police Officers and their immediate families. The foundation provides help to the brave men and women of our police force during times of challenge. The DPOF has helped over 1,000 officers and their families since the organization was founded in 1999.
Burg Simpson Shareholder Nick Fogel
Burg Simpson shareholder Nick Fogel is the practice group leader of the firm’s Workers’ Compensation department. Mr. Fogel is pictured here representing Burg Simpson as a sponsor of the annual DPOF fundraiser. Nick Fogel’s practice is devoted to helping those who have been injured while working on the job and in the line of duty. In this capacity, Nick has extensive courtroom experience handling a wide variety of matters. Nick has been selected by the National Trial Lawyers for inclusion in The Top 40 under 40 Association. Membership into the Top 40 under 40 Association is by invitation only and is extended exclusively to those individuals who exemplify superior qualifications, trial results, and leadership as a young trial lawyer. Nick has also been consistently recognized by Best Lawyers in America and Colorado Super Lawyers.