Last updated 10:55AM ET
December 17, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Big Party Sends Off "Quiet" Police Chief
(2008-04-03)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Hundreds of residents from across Southwest Colorado celebrated Durango Police Chief Al Bell's retirement last night, with words of praise for a man described as a quiet leader.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

(Sound)
VICTOR: About 250 people packed Chief Al Bell's retirement party at the Recreation Center.
Saturday he ends a 37-year career in law enforcement that began as an officer and chief in Burlington, Kansas and included 11 years with the La Plata County Sheriff's office, before being named Durango chief 14 years ago.
BELL: OH MAN THERE'S SO MANY.
Bell had to search for words when asked what his fondest memory of the last 14 years was.
After some thought, he told me his greatest enjoyment has come from guiding the department to meet the challenges posed by Durango's own growth the last 14 years.
BELL: WE'VE HAD TO GROW, WE'VE HAD TO CHANGE, WE'VE HAD TO CHANGE, WE HAD TO CHANGE WITH THE COMMUNITY, WE HAD TO CHANGE WITH WHAT THE COMMUNITY WANTS AS A POLICE DEPARTMENT, AND SO IT'S BEEN A NEVER ENDING GROWING PERIOD FOR ME.
Through the course of almost two hours, Bell received accolades, letters and plaques from friends, fellow law officers, politicians and others from throughout Southwest Colorado, including State Attorney General John Suthers who was in attendance, greetings from the Governor, Colorado's U.S. Senators and Congressman and representatives of the FBI, State Patrol, Colorado Bureau of Investigation and numerous area police agencies.
Speaker after speaker praised him for his quiet leadership, integrity, honesty, trustworthiness, generosity and more.
Bell thanked all for what he termed the overwhelming outpouring, crediting his success to each of them, his wife, and his officers.
A successor to Bell has not yet been named.
That's the job of Durango City Manager Ron Le Blanc.
LE BLANC: WE'VE RECEIVED OVER SIXTY APPLICATIONS TO DATE. THE CHIEF HAS SET VERY HIGH STANDARDS FOR THE POSITION. WE WILL PICK SOMEONE WHO FITS WELL WITH THE COMMUNITY AND WHO FITS WELL WITH THE DEPARTMENT. WE HOPE TO HAVE SOMEONE ON BOARD AFTER THE FOURTH OF JULY.
The Bell's have bought a house north of Tampa Bay, Florida and will relocate there this month.
Al Bell says he plans to fish a lot, and buy a pontoon boat.
As for his wife Cindy, she says she's glad he'll be home more.
CINDY BELL: HE'S A GOOD MAN, HE'S DONE WELL FOR THE COMMUNITY.
VICTOR: AND WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR TIME?
CINDY BELL: BUG HIM.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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