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Fallen officer ‘the embodiment’ of dedication

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Thousands turn out to honor Jeffco sergeant who died in traffic accident

By Ramsey Scott

The Jeffco Sheriff’s Office said goodbye to one of its own this week, a man whose passion for serving the community didn’t end when he clocked out for the day.

More than a thousand people, many of them law officers, came to the 1stBank Center in Broomfield on Monday to remember sheriff’s Sgt. David Baldwin, 50. Baldwin was killed while on duty Jan. 27 when his Harley-Davidson motorcycle reportedly was struck on Colorado 93 by a vehicle driving in the oncoming lane.

Baldwin had been awarded the Sheriff’s Star in 2013 for his work on and off the clock during last year’s flooding in Coal Creek Canyon.

A resident of the Coal Creek Canyon area, Baldwin became the main point of contact for both emergency services and residents, putting in countless unpaid hours to help his neighbors, Sheriff Ted Mink said during Baldwin’s memorial service.

“He was the embodiment of the motto, ‘To serve and protect,’ ” Mink said.

Baldwin, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was a 27-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office and had served in the detentions division, civil and fugitive unit, bomb squad and patrol division. Baldwin was most recently a supervisor with the sheriff’s traffic/motorcycle unit.

Yet it wasn’t just Baldwin’s commitment to the job that made him special, sheriff’s Capt. Terry Manwaring said: It was his commitment to his fellow deputies as a mentor and friend.

“He was not only their sergeant, but he was their faithful friend. He checked with them while on vacation or on a day off, just to make sure they were OK and didn't need anything,” Manwaring said.

Baldwin’s caring nature was balanced by a mischievous side, and both Mink and Manwaring spoke of several instances when Baldwin’s pranks got the best of them.

That mischievous element in his personality was a life-long trait, said Baldwin’s wife, Crystal.

“We’ve been laughing this week as much as crying,” Crystal said. “It’s important that we celebrate his life today and forever.”

Baldwin was married in 1990 to his first wife, Stephanie, and the two adopted a 5-year-old boy, Joshua. Stephanie Baldwin died of cancer after a two-year battle during which Baldwin became a caregiver.

Joshua, now 28, said his father had provided an example of how to live a good life.

“I am very sad to have lost my friend. But I’m also thankful to have had him in my life,” Joshua said. “Above all else, he was an amazing father and friend.”

Baldwin was interviewed by the Columbine Courier in May about being a motorcycle cop and how it compared to his bomb disposal training in the Air Force.

“The focus required (when riding) is 100 percent of the time. If you lose concentration for a second, the motorcycle could do something you don’t want it to do,” Baldwin said. “You can take a step backward when you’re dealing with a bomb. With a bike, it’s nonstop.”

A fund has been established at Key Bank for the Baldwin family. Checks can be made out to: Fraternal Order of Police, West Metro Lodge 18, Sgt. Dave Baldwin Memorial Fund

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine.