Edgewater Police Officer Accompanies Jefferson Students to Diversity Summit

Here is a great story from Police Chief John Hough telling about the Edgewater Police Department partnering with Jefferson High School staff to impact the lives of students:

On April 1, 2015 Edgewater Police Department Officer Ed McCallin accompanied twenty-one (21) students from metro Denver area schools to Aspen, Colorado for the inaugural Ski for Heisman Youth and Police Diversity Leadership Summit. Officer McCallin is the School Resource Officer for Jefferson High School and the Lumberg and Edgewater Elementary Schools in Edgewater. Of the 21 students who attended the diversity summit, fourteen (14) of them are students from Jefferson High School.

The diversity summit was sponsored by the Rashaan Salaam Foundation and the SPIN Foundation. The Rashaan Salaam Foundation is operated by Rashaan Salaam, University of Colorado football player, Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL football player. The SPIN (Support People In Need) Foundation is operated by Robert Hawkins, who is the social worker at Jefferson High School and a former NFL football player.

The purpose of the diversity summit was to bring police officers and local students together to discuss the tough issues facing both groups in today’s world. The goal was to create an environment in which officers and students could communicate with each other, form lasting bonds and friendships and have the freedom of full expression. In addition to Officer McCallin, two officers from the Denver Police Department were invited to attend the summit.
On April 1st, the officers, students and five staff members from Jefferson High School boarded a chartered bus for Aspen. When they arrived at Aspen’s Buttermilk Mountain, the group was lodged at the Inn at Aspen, which is at the base of the ski area. After dinner at the hotel the officers, students and staff introduced themselves and participated in a group conversation about diversity, respect and leadership. All the students were then issued ski clothing and goggles that was donated by members of the Aspen community.

On April 2nd, the students were provided with skis, boots, poles and helmets at a local rental shop. After everyone received their ski equipment, the students were introduced to their ski instructors who were provided by the Aspen Ski Company to teach the students how to ski. The officers, all of whom are experienced skiers or snowboarders, were able to help the instructors teach the students.

After completing a full day of ski lessons on the lower mountain, everyone had dinner at the hotel followed by a group discussion about youth violence and police interactions about many of the recent police/youth issues that have been portrayed in the media on a daily basis. The discussion ended with each student standing up and sharing his or her feelings about learning how to ski.

The next day, the ski instructors continued to teach the students and prepared the more advanced students for their first trip up to the top of the mountain. All the students and the adults boarded the Summit Express chair lift for the ride to the top of the mountain where everyone gathered for a group photo with a 14,000 foot peak in the background. Those students and adults who did not have enough experience to safely ski down from the top of the mountain boarded the lift for a ride down to the base area. The students who had progressed more quickly were allowed to explore more challenging terrain on the mountain with their ski instructors and the officers.
At the end of the second day of skiing, the entire group explored downtown Aspen and did some shopping. The group had dinner at the five-star Jerome Hotel which is an historic site in downtown Aspen. Dinner was sponsored by a local Aspen resident.

On April 4th, the students were allowed to “free ski” with the officers and adult staff. Two students from Jefferson High School, who seemed to be natural skiers, joined two officers for a few runs on some more challenging terrain, including a challenging black diamond expert trail. The two students, who mastered the black diamond trail, had never skied before this trip.

On April 5th, the group returned to Denver. During the entire trip there were no injuries or disciplinary incidents. In fact, two hotel staff members made the comment that the group was the best behaved, most polite and most well-mannered group they had ever seen at the hotel. All of the feedback received from the students was extremely positive.

Below is a video highlighting the trip:

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