Fireworks, injuries on trails keep FWPPD busy this holiday weekend |

Fireworks, injuries on trails keep FWPPD busy this holiday weekend

FWPPD Officer Malchow in his patrol car on Sunday evening after his shift, which Sky-Hi News accompanied him on.
McKenna Harford /

The Fourth of July weekend ended on a mostly mellow note in the Fraser Valley.

After a busy Saturday responding to calls about hurt recreators, fireworks complaints and intoxicated drivers, Fraser Winter Park Police Department had few calls during the day Sunday.

In an effort to encourage people to celebrate the holiday weekend safely, public health officials were reminding people to wear masks, socially distance and spend time outside under the state’s Safer at Home guidelines.

Compared to last year, FWPPD officers responded to almost exactly the same number of calls over the Fourth of July weekend, though Chief Glen Trainor said the night shift saw a significant spike in the number of illegal fireworks complaints.

“It seemed to me, just anecdotally, that there were a lot more people in the county,” Trainor said. “The thing I noticed this year, as opposed to last, is just the amount of illegal fireworks that were being shot off was way more than what we’re used to seeing.”

Calls about illegal fireworks weren’t exclusive to the Fraser Valley, as Grand County dispatchers fielded one report after another across Kremmling, Granby and Grand Lake.

On Sunday, the Sky-Hi News rode along with FWPPD Officer Malchow as he closed out the holiday weekend.

Despite heavy traffic on the roads, there were few calls in the area, so Malchow decided to patrol popular spots in Winter Park and Fraser, as well as local neighborhoods.

“(The patrol route) is based on what traffic looks like, what calls we get, if there have been recent complaints and staffing,” explained Malchow, who’s been an officer for 11 years. “On weekends, I do more neighborhood patrols because people are out so we can interact and they can bring up issues.”

On Saturday, Malchow responded along with Grand County Search and Rescue and Grand County EMS to two injured bikers in separate incidents. 

The first happened around 9:45 a.m., when a 55-year-old man crashed on Leland Creek trail. Around 1 p.m., a 62-year-old woman hurt her leg and arm while biking Yankee Doodle Trail. 

Other than those calls, Malchow helped handle a few medical calls while traffic concerns filled out the early half of his weekend.

With a calmer day on Sunday, Malchow followed up on some recent complaints, including reports of people ignoring the Water Board Road closure in the Lakota neighborhood and the Vasquez Road closure, but he didn’t find any issues.

Though he didn’t find any illegal activity, Malchow helped to direct some unaware recreators who were turning around from the Water Board Road closure to trailheads via County Road 80.

Later, Malchow parked at Winter Park Resort and walked around the base area, chatting with staff and the clinic about the weekend.

He also patrolled neighborhoods in Winter Park and Fraser, keeping an eye out for speeding and waving to passing joggers, families and dog walkers.

“I look for reckless activity or anything that could become a problem so that I can try to deter issues,” Malchow said. “It’s like having your head on a swivel constantly.”

Around 2:30 p.m., a man called dispatch asking to file a report about an alleged assault Friday night in Fraser. Malchow met the man at the police department in Winter Park and took a statement from him.

Speaking with the man, Malchow learned the other person involved in the incident reported it Friday evening to one of his colleagues, and the man had been arrested then. 

Malchow explained that with an officer already investigating the incident, he would add a supplemental report with the man’s statement to the existing casework.

After taking the statement, Malchow headed back out to US Highway 40 to loop through the towns one more time before the end of his shift. 

“What I like the most about this job … is every day is different,” he said. “There’s no routine or normal … Yesterday, I was a hiker, a medic, and today, I’m a detective.”

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