Nov 12

Meet Rifle’s New Community Service Officer (But you probably already know him!)

Posted on November 12, 2019 at 10:09 AM by Michael Churchill

If you were to take a survey around town, there is no doubt that most people have heard of Alan Lambert. But for as many people as you polled, you would get an equal number of answers as to how they know him. It’s hard to dispute that he may be one of the most interesting and diverse people in Rifle. Describing himself as having lived “too many different lifetimes”, there are few things Alan hasn’t done.

Professional journalist? Check. Country western dance instructor? Check. Rodeo Rider? Bus driver? Hunting guide? Check, check, check. And, of course, he lived in a cabin for three years with no running water, a 19th century wood burning cook stove and an outhouse. Presumably, this rugged period helped shape his mellow personality and quick wit. In fact, his sense of humor becomes evident when he describes what he refers to as the three stages of cabin living. 

“The first is ‘oh cool! I live here!’ The second is ‘why am I here?’ and the third is resignation-this is life”, Alan states with a chuckle and a gleam in his eye.

Growing up mostly in Conifer, Colorado, Alan’s curiosity and work ethic began at a young age. In 1976, he became the City of Conifer’s first Eagle Scout initiating a tree planting project. Many of the trees he planted are still there today. He attended the University of Northern Colorado earning an astounding three degrees (one in journalism, one in photo journalism and a third in industrial arts) as well as a teaching certificate. He funded his own education doing woodwork. 

Alan’s post college career began in journalism writing for newspapers in Winter Park and Fairplay before he put another degree to use becoming an industrial arts instructor at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey. Teaching everything from architectural drafting to mechanics, his students won first place in a graphic arts competition. Summers were spent working as a cowboy before he decided to pursue that full time becoming the Head Wrangler at Rocky Mountain National Park. 

A job at Coulter Lake is what brought Alan to Rifle and is where he pursued his woodworking career in earnest and met his future wife, Patty, at a dance club in Grand Junction. After leaving ranching, Alan did woodworking full time for 18 years. It was a skill he learned from his dad. He put in long hours working art shows and keeping up with demand. His creativity and business acumen led him to help found Midland Arts Company.

Never one to sit around, Alan got very involved in the Rifle community right from the beginning. He became a member of the chamber of commerce, eventually becoming president and spent time on many local boards.  While serving on the planning commission, he noticed some policies he thought needed to change. A run for City Council landed him a seat where he was re-elected three times and served 12 years. Alan was also one of the founding members of the Energy Advisory Board and has been involved with the Museum Board and the Senior Center Advisory board. Currently, he is serving as Board President for the Colorado River Fire Protection District.

“I was able to take the knowledge I learned from my time on City Council and apply it to the fire district,” he says. He is currently in the middle of a two year term serving in that capacity. 

After several part-time jobs to supplement his income, Alan applied for a position with the City of Rifle Parks and Recreation Department. He became an integral member of the City team handling everything from mowing the parks to general building maintenance. City employees knew they could count on Alan to fix just about anything and always have a positive disposition. He really seemed to care about his job and his colleagues.  So it wasn’t really a surprise that Alan threw his name in the hat when a position opened for Community Service Officer.

“I get the opportunity to use my brain instead of my back. It’s the challenges in life that keep you going. You always need positive challenges. Plus, I’m moving up in the world!” he jokes. “I can make a difference again in a different way. Many of the laws I approved while serving on City Council I can now make work.”

Helping people is second nature for Alan and these new responsibilities provide him plenty of chances.

“The other day I found a stolen vehicle that had been taken from an 83 year old lady in Grand Junction. The fact that she got her car back is one of the reasons I do this. Plus, the people I work with are phenomenal.” 

The sentiment seems to be mutual. According to Rifle Police Chief Tommy Klein, “Alan is dedicated to Rifle. He is now part of the Rifle Police Department team and we could not be happier to have a member of our community that clearly cares about the quality of life and the direction of our City.  In addition to serving our community, he is an exceptional artist and his woodwork can be viewed at local craft fairs and at the Midland Arts Company.  Alan knows the history of our area and if you want to know about Rifle’s past, take a few moments to speak to him.”

When not at work, Alan has numerous hobbies including hunting, fishing and travel. He can often be seen in the summer on his pontoon boat up at Rifle Gap or Harvey Gap.  He and Patty have traveled all over Europe, Hawaii, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. They are planning a trip to New Orleans in the spring.

Alan will now bring his diverse life experience to a new job enforcing the Rifle Municipal Code. His focus is on educating citizens about laws which may affect them. He can be seen on any given day walking or driving around town. If you see him, be sure to say “hi”. And if you have a minute, ask him for the story of how he met his wife or his tales of skiing backwards through groups of wealthy Texans on the slopes. His amiable nature will surely bring a smile to your face (even if he’s giving you a warning about shoveling your sidewalk!). 

Alan CSOAlan fishing

Rifle Rapport is a periodic article featuring the people and projects of the City of Rifle. If you have suggestions for future articles, please contact City of Rifle Public Information Officer Kathy Pototsky at 970-665-6420 or

Sep 19

Who Let the (Police) Dogs Out?

Posted on September 19, 2019 at 11:01 AM by Michael Churchill

Corporal Garrett Duncan of the Rifle Police Department is letting the dogs out in a must-attend event for the entire family. Thanks to the efforts of Corporal Duncan, the Rifle Police Department was selected to host the 2019 Colorado Police Canine Challenge. This event will be part of the City of Rifle Western Adventure Weekend and is scheduled for September 21st from 10:00am until 2:00pm at the Garfield County Fairgrounds, 1001 Railroad Avenue. It will take place in the indoor arena so weather won’t be a factor. Admission is free (of course, donations are always welcome) and there will be a raffle with terrific prizes.

Police dogs provide a wide variety of services. They sniff out drugs and assist in apprehending suspects, but they also serve a less recognized function. According to Corporal Duncan, “dogs can ease people during police contacts. People tend to be comforted and more likely to talk when they have contact with a dog”. Duncan emphasizes that this aspect tends to be overlooked. To counter this, the Rifle Police Department brings their dogs to schools, other organizations and events to educate the public and help citizens familiarize themselves with the roles canines play in law enforcement.

The Rifle Police Department K9 program began in 2010. Most Rifle residents know the first police canine, Tulo. Tulo and his handler, Corporal Duncan, were a team until Tulo’s retirement this past January. The department currently has two new dogs, Jax and Makai. Jax is partnered with Officer Jared Bartunek and Makai with Corporal Duncan. Both teams will be participating in the challenge. 

The K9 Challenge will feature law enforcement K9 teams from all over the state. The teams compete in four categories: agility, obedience, apprehension and narcotics detection.  It is extremely entertaining to watch what these dogs can (and sometimes can’t or won’t) do. Not all dogs are trained to perform the tasks which comprise the competition, but many will attempt some of the challenges outside their comfort zone and skill set.  It is a great opportunity to see not only impressive skills, but personalities as well. After the demonstrations, citizens are invited to meet select handlers and their canines and get pictures. 

This year’s K9 challenge is raising money for the Colorado Police Canine Association. This organization is instrumental in providing funds for retired police dogs. Corporal Duncan explains that caring for a retired dog can become quite expensive. Things such as hip replacements, medications and even vitamins can be costly. These four-legged heroes deserve to live out their lives as happy and comfortable as possible. 

Mark your calendars now for this free family event. A fun day is guaranteed. You have will have a great time watching the dogs perform some amazing feats.  

Rifle Rapport is a periodic article featuring the people and projects of the City of Rifle. If you have suggestions for future articles, please contact City of Rifle Public Information Officer Kathy Pototsky at 970-665-6420 or

K9 Challenge Flyer

Aug 22

Time to Vote! Your Ballot is on its Way!

Posted on August 22, 2019 at 9:56 AM by Michael Churchill

You may think of July as the most patriotic time of year. But as the leaves fall and football season begins, the autumn breezes also usher in your opportunity to play a critical role in making decisions about your government. Nowhere do you have more say than with municipal elections. Issues ranging from who governs the town to spending decisions are made by the voters and are often decided in margins as small as a few votes. So yes, your vote really matters!

The City of Rifle Municipal election is September 10, 2019. Not October. Not November. Official ballots were mailed on Tuesday and should be hitting your mailbox any day now. Inside your packet you will find your official ballot, a secrecy sleeve with instructions and an official return envelope. 

Rifle citizens will be voting on who will obtain or retain seats on City Council and two ballot questions. There are seven candidates running for three Council positions:

Brian Condie

John Max Doose

Joe P. Elliott

Ed Green

Clint Hostettler

Raquel Mendizabal

Dana Wood

All Rifle City Council seats are at-large positions and the top three candidates receiving the most votes will be elected to serve four year terms.

The two ballot questions voters will face relate to procedural provisions of the current Rifle Municipal Code. The first is an effort to move the municipal elections to November to coordinate with the State of Colorado elections. 

The exact wording of the question is:

Ballot Question B

Shall Section 2.3 of the City of Rifle Home Rule Charter be amended to read as follows:

Regular City Elections shall be on the State of Colorado Coordinated Election in November in odd numbered years.

YES _____                                                           NO _____

The second ballot question addresses the issue of the commencement time for newly elected Councilmembers. The current Charter provision mandates that the term for each newly elected Councilmember shall begin at 8:00pm on the first Monday following the municipal election. The new language would move that date to the first City Council organizational meeting which is set by ordinance. The question will appear on the ballot as follows:

Ballot Question A

Shall the first sentence of Section 3.4 of the City of Rifle Home Rule Charter be amended to read as follows:

Terms of the newly elected Councilmembers shall begin at the organizational meeting of the City Council following the Regular Municipal Election.

YES _____                                                           NO _____

Election Day is September 10, 2019. Ballots must be RECEIVED by the City Clerk by that date. POSTMARKS DO NOT COUNT AS RECEIVED DATES. Submissions can be made by mail (you will need to put adequate postage on the envelope) or dropped off either at City Hall during normal business hours or by using the new 24 hour drop box located at the Police Department, 201 East 18th Street. 

Remember, every ballot counts! If you have any questions about the ballot or the process, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 970-665-6405.

Rifle Rapport is a periodic article featuring the people and projects of the City of Rifle. If you have suggestions for future articles, please contact City of Rifle Public Information Officer Kathy Pototsky at 970-665-6420 or