By Lyndsie Ferrell
SOUTH FORK— South Fork Police Chief Don McDonald is the first law enforcement official throughout the Valley to be highlighted on a weekly program sponsored by KSLV 96.5. The program began in the Denver Metro area and was brought to radio stations in the Valley by Nikki Rosecrans. Rosecrans came to KSLV from the Bonneville International Corporation out of Denver where the program originated.
“I was approached by my old company and asked if I would bring the Beyond the Badge program here to the Valley and once I received approval from KSLV, I added to it to include all first responders and firefighters,” said Rosecrans. The program will highlight an individual law enforcement or emergency service member each week and introduce them to the Valley. “Our hope is to bring these individuals out to the community. They are people just like us. The first step in trusting someone is to get to know them and that’s what we want to do.”
Officer Don McDonald has tried to retire three times, failing miserably each and every time. Coming back out of retirement, he took the position of South Fork chief of police and is eager to continue to change the community he loves.
McDonald and his wife visited the South Fork area after he retired from the Fountain, Colo. police force where he was originally sworn into service in December of 1990. At the time, McDonald was still in active service with the US Army. McDonald was honorably discharged after 21 years in the military as a First sergeant and spent his retirement years as an officer in Fountain.
When the couple came to South Fork, McDonald had every intention of spending his retirement years in peace and quiet, but found that just like his two previous tries, his retirement years came an end when he accepted a part-time position on the South Fork police force.
Over the course of two years, McDonald has successfully closed several cases in the South Fork area, created working relationships with not only his community but fellow law enforcement officers and emergency service personnel. McDonald is continuously working towards creating a foundation of trust in his community and it has more than paid off.
In September of last year, the chief announced his candidacy for Rio Grande County Sheriff and will be on the ballot come November.
According to Rosecrans the program will run indefinitely, and they are looking for volunteers to get it started. “Don was the first to respond to our inquiry and now that his segment has ran, I hope more people will follow suit. It is very important to humanize these people, let the community know that they go home to families every night and go out fishing, hunting or play with their children on days off. It’s a natural human reaction to be nervous around law enforcement, but we want to help ease that.”
For more information on the Beyond the Badge program or to nominate a participant, please contact KSLV at 852-3581 or by emailing [email protected]