‘God’s fingerprints were all over her’
February 10, 2015
Every so often, you come across a person with such palpable vivacity that their smile alone can inspire happiness in others.
People with such ebullience light up every room they enter, and their absence leaves an all but impenetrable darkness.
To those who knew her, Alycia Riggs was one such person.
Her smile, her alacrity and her dedication to her profession were all recurrent themes in the testimonies offered by friends and colleagues during her memorial service on Saturday, Feb. 7.
Law enforcement and emergency agencies from across the state, from Jackson County to Alamosa, filled the Kiva Building at Snow Mountain Ranch to pay their respects to Riggs on Saturday afternoon.
The exhaustive list of those present was a testimony to the many lives Riggs touched during her lifetime.
Riggs, a deputy with the Grand County Sheriff's Office, was killed in a traffic accident on U.S. Highway 34 near Coffee Divide while off duty on Feb. 3.
Riggs, who was 30, left behind a 3-year-old daughter, Azaylee.
Colorado State Patrol Trooper Adam Jennings, who endearingly referred to Riggs as "the Riggulator," first met her seven years ago while working for the Adams State University Police Department.
Jennings described Riggs as a spontaneous friend and dedicated police officer.
"She was like a sister to us," Jennings said.
Attesting to Riggs' tenacity, Jennings recalled watching her chase a fleeing felon on foot, too absorbed in the chase to notice her radio bouncing along the ground behind her.
"Riggs was a great cop, a great mother and best of all, she was a best friend," Jennings said. "Without her around, the world feels a little colder, a little darker, and nothing will ever be the same for any of us."
Riggs previously worked for the Sterling Police Department and the Adams State University Police Department before joining the Grand County Sheriff's Office in September 2014.
During her short tenure with the GCSO, Riggs made an outsize impression on the law enforcement and first responder community in Grand County.
Undersheriff Wayne Schafer first met Riggs while working for the Granby Police Department. Riggs was in field training.
"What I came to realize is that Riggs had a quality that I've never seen in another individual in my entire life," Schafer said. "She wore the love of her job, her friends and her family openly on her face for everyone to see, no matter the circumstances."
Sheriff Brett Schroetlin called her the "premier law enforcement officer.
"She had every quality that we were looking for in the Grand County Sheriffs Office," he said.
Joel Schults, a chaplin and Riggs's former chief at the Adams State University Police Department, said Riggs was a "peacemaker" and a woman of faith.
He described the immeasurable impact her smile and spirit had on those around her.
"God's fingerprints were all over her, and she is evidence to you of a loving, creative, intentional, relational creator God," Schults said through tears.
During the service Schroetlin announced that Riggs's badge number and her call sign, Grand 18, would be retired in perpetuity to honor her memory.
The ceremony closed with a customary final call.
Grand County Dispatch's appeal, "Grand 18, Hot Sulphur," echoed through the auditorium's loudspeakers three times.
It was an overwhelming moment for many in the audience.
"Grand 18, you are 1042, End of Watch," the dispatcher said in closing. "Rest in peace, Alycia Riggs."
The Grand County Sheriff's Office has sponsored a fund for Riggs's daughter, Azaylee.
Contribution can be made to the Azaylee Parcells Memorial Fund at Grand Mountain Bank.