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Ripon Police help patch lost memories
Department coming to aid of Colorado fire victim
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It took less than a moment for Ripon police watch Commander First Sergeant Steve Merchant to offer his departments support in replacing a destroyed shoulder patch collection belonging to a Colorado youth whose home was burned in the Black Forrest wild fire. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Cops do stick together!

It was evident once again this week when officers from San Diego County to Ripon and Manteca got on the band wagon to make a difference for a 13-year-old Colorado teen who lost his complete collection of more than 100 police uniform shoulder patches to the Black Forest wildfire that also consumed his family’s home. 

The loss came to my attention early Wednesday morning when I got a call at home from a Chula Vista Police Detective – our son Tim – who said he needed my help.  It’s unusual for him to call during working hours.  And, rarely does he need my help.

He sounded rushed as he was on his way out the door, but serious as he described a victim of the recent fire in Colorado that had destroyed countless patches that young Kyle Jensen had been collecting since his uncle Jared Jensen, a Colorado Springs police officer, had been killed in the line of duty in 2006.  He was close to his uncle who served on that department with his dad Jeff.  Those patches were his only connection to the man he had loved so much in his early youth.  Now his home is gone and so is his collection, leaving only youthful memories.

“Dad, we’re trying to collect as many patches from different departments as we can to send to the boy.  Do you think you can help,” our youngest son asked over the phone.   I told him I would do what I could in the effort to get as many patches as possible sent to his department where they would be boxed up for shipment to Colorado.

Ripon Police First Sergeant Steve Merchant was the first officer I talked to Wednesday about the detective division’s project.  He not only came up with past and present departmental patches, but also hats, pins, and a canine patch along with a SWAT logo.  Sgt. Terri Jensen had previously worked for the State Parks Department in the past as an officer and donated some of her collection for the youth.  Other officers joined in adding to the effort.

Lt. Tony Souza said he would check with his Manteca department and determine what they would be able to send to Colorado.  Other patches are expected to be coming from Alameda County and the Bay Area.  It is obviously a project that could easily go viral and become a nationwide response. 

A Colorado Police Department spokesman said they are getting calls from all around the country with departments and individual officers wanting more information on what they can do for the boy and for his family having lost everything.

Any officer or department with patches or other memorabilia for the teen can send them to the Southern California address:  Chula Vista PD, Violent Crimes Unit, 315 Fourth Avenue, Chula Vista, CA, 91910.