On the job: New Granby Police officer trades Florida for the Rockies
The high mountain parks and rugged peaks of the Rockies are a long way from the sweltering swamps and mangrove forests of southern Florida, but the change in scenery is no problem for Officer Jonathan Stark, the newest member of the Granby Police Department.
“The views here are outstanding,” said Stark, a Florida native who spent his early years in South Carolina. “Going from the extreme tropical environment to the mountains is a huge change,” he said. “One of the biggest changes is the scenery. There’s not much to look at in Florida unless you are on the beach. Here everyone has a great view.”
Stark started his career in law enforcement in Winter Park, though not in Colorado. Winter Park, Fla., just outside of Orlando, was where Stark first donned the badge. He came to law enforcement from a service background, doing missions work in the inner city of Tampa. He became motivated to find a more fiscally stable career so he could marry his sweetheart.
Initially he was reluctant to became a peace officer but after going on a ride along with officers in Florida Stark realized he had found his calling.
“I thought, ‘This is it, I get solve problem and help people.’”
Beginning in 2004 Stark attended police academy and was hired by Winter Park, Fla., in June 2004. He stayed in Winter Park for three and a half years before taking another position in the violent southern Florida city of Miami Gardens.
Stark’s first official day with Granby was May 20, and the difference in pace between southern Florida and the high country was noticeable for him.
“There is a big change in the level of activity, “said Stark, discussing how much less violent Granby is versus his last posting in Florida. “But bad stuff can still happen in nice areas.”
Stark said he was comforted by the level of professionalism in the community.
Officer Stark moved to Grand County in April and is looking for housing before the remainder of his family moves to Colorado. He and his wife have three children of their own and are in the process of adopting a fourth. All four are boys ranging from age 8 to 2 ½ years.
Stark is an avid fisherman and is excited about the outdoor recreational opportunities Grand County offers.
“I’ve already been doing a lot of fly fishing since I got here,” he said, explaining it has been quite some time since he worked with a fly rod. “I’m re-acclimating to it,” he joked.
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Grand County has not seen any new deaths due to COVID-19 in the last week, and the reported number of deaths with COVID has gone down by one.