Lyons Life By Ken Singer
Although Sgt. Nick Goldberger doesn’t live in Lyons, he has been the top cop in the Lyons Substation of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office since February 2013. It sort of makes him the Chief of Police with the job of supervising a number of deputies in town. Just about everyone in town knows him and calls him “Nick,” and that’s the “small town feeling” and
culture of this town that he appreciates.
Nick was in charge just seven months before the flood and he became a familiar face to the residents affected by the disaster. He and a number of officers helped brief town members and manned the roadblocks into town for several months. Even though he personally was not affected by the flood where he lives, he notes that this community suffered trauma whether or not their homes were damaged or destroyed. “My family didn’t see me for three days,” he said.
He married his wife, Carol, in 2003 and has five year-old twins. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and working in law enforcement in the Badger State, he decided to move to Colorado.
Since joining the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office in 1997, he has worked at a number of jobs: as a corrections officer in the county jail, a patrol officer, then supervisor, and as a sergeant, as well as a detective on the drug task force. His drug-related experience took him from the days of pre-legalization of marijuana to the legalization of medical, and later recreational sales to adults.
Some of the drug-related crime has been people stealing marijuana, mostly from growers, or people giving or selling marijuana to underage youth. Nick compared it with alcohol; there are going to be kids taking liquor from a parent’s cabinet, or getting an older friend to purchase it legally. The local marijuana shops, he noted, are very careful in checking identification to be sure they do not sell to minors.
Of greater concern has been the misuse or stealing of prescription medications, particularly opioid painkillers like Oxycontin, he said. Although some local police departments have Narcan (naloxone), an opiate antidote that saves overdose victims in seconds, the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t been trained in its use, nor do deputies carry it in their patrol cars. Nick noted that the Boulder County is looking into the need for training officers in how to administer it, as well as the logistics of its sensitivity to heat in patrol cars, and the challenges of transferring Narcan from officer to officer during shift changes. In emergency calls, a large percentage of the first responders are deputies of the Department. The County Jail has Narcan and an increasing number of EMTs are equipped with the life-saving drug.
Most of the crime in and around Lyons is of a petty nature; i.e., people taking items from unlocked cars or houses. Nick believes that local residents are trusting, frequently leaving their homes and cars unlocked. Crimes and emergency calls are generally reported in social media, like Facebook (the County Sheriff’s Office has a page (www.facebook.com/BoulderCountySheriffsOffice),which provides information.
The planned four-month construction closure of Rt. 34 in the next few months will bring additional traffic to Lyons, Nick said. The Sheriff’s Office and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) are talking about how to minimize the impact on Rts. 36 and 7, which run through Lyons and would be alternatives to Rt. 34. Compounding that, the RockyGrass and Rocky Mountain Folks Festivals already create bottlenecks in town. Add to this, the detours through Lyons to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park and it’s easy to see this will be a challenge.
Nick said the festivals are “a cool thing for artists and the ambiance” of Lyons. They do create additional work for his deputies however, in terms of extra traffic control. He did sympathize with the local residents who are inconvenienced by more traffic, but he said the shops and restaurants likely benefit from the additional business.
With the impact of possible annexations of the Eastern Corridor, Apple Valley Road, and the County Road 69 area, the town may change, he said. “I want to keep the culture of the town, and see the character of the town stay as a small town. It’s a ‘know your neighbor’ kind of feeling.” But, he acknowledged, the town has gone through evolution over the years. He noted that walking or biking around town is something most people can do, while it would be a bit less convenient from the Eastern Corridor.
Although he doesn’t live here, and may not always work here, it is clear that Nick Goldberger is a real fan of Lyons.