Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. It was a proud moment for Nederland Police Department officer Erich Gerthe. On Friday morning, he was sworn into office by Judge David Gloss and Nederland Police Department chief Paul Carrill.
As Judge Gloss went through the formal proceedings, Gerthe’s parents, in-laws, grandparents, an uncle, the town administrator, trustee Julie Gustafson, NCC coordinator Dawn Baumhover and Sgt. Larry Johns were there to celebrate the ceremony.
After Judge Gloss was finished with the formal oaths, Gerthe’s wife Lauren pinned the Nederland badge, without drawing blood, on Gerthe’s chest. It was a moment everyone had been looking forward to.
Gerthe grew up, loving being outside and working with the 4H club outside of Drake, Colorado in Larimer County. His specialty was archery and in 2008, he went on to compete in national competitions.
Throughout his childhood and high school years, Gerthe was homeschooled.
Before he graduated, he attended Front Range Community College studying business.
“But I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at the time, but that was when all the school shootings were going on and that hit pretty close to home. I wanted to do whatever I could to stop those things.”
Gerthe went on to attend Colorado State University, studying Sociology and Criminal Justice, deciding he wanted to be a police officer. Which led to meeting his wife Lauren, who was studying Health and Human Sciences in a fellowship meeting.
In 2015, the couple was married. Lauren worked at Red Lobster, her goal was to be in management. They lived in Fort Collins at the time. Gerthe was still involved with archery, but also liked to tinker with vehicles.
“What I really wanted to do was work in the mountains. I was tired of the flatlands and decided to go to the Ames Police Academy in Greeley.”
After working as a security officer in Laramie County, Gerthe went on the hunt, specifically for a job in the mountains. His grandmother remembers that she learned how to ski at Eldora Mountain Resort.
This past May, Gerthe saw that there was an opening in the Ned department and applied for the job. He began his training period on August 24, 2017. “I look forward to a long career here and hope to move up here. I am also looking forward to helping people.”
Although Gerthe hasn’t been around long enough to know many people, he is hoping people will greet him while he is on the job on Nederland streets. Girth grew up in a German household and speaks fluid German. Although there probably won’t be that much need for his language dexterity, he says he is happy to be working in a diverse community.
His wife describes him as “Always kind and caring and willing to help whenever he is needed.”
He says, “I am grateful for the opportunity.”
And his parents say, “We are always proud of him. It will be nice to see him in the mountains again.”
(Originally published in the September 14, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)