Steamboat Springs Former Steamboat Springs Police Department Chief JD Hays has been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his career in law enforcement.
The award was presented to Hays on April 26 by the Western Colorado Peace Officers Association during the group’s spring conference in Grand Junction.
“For them to honor me in that way was very gratifying but very surprising,” Hays said Friday.
Hays said that before the conference, his wife, Paula, told him during a dinner with friends that he was going to be receiving the award.
“She couldn’t figure out a way to get me to Grand Junction without telling me,” Hays said.
The former Los Angeles cop retired in January 2012 after 32 years with the Steamboat department. He moved to Steamboat in 1980 to raise his family and took a job as a patrol officer. He was promoted to captain in 1983, and in 1997, he replaced former police Chief Roger Jensen.
Since retiring, Hays said he has been traveling a lot with his wife. They are now back in Steamboat to enjoy their favorite season.
His successor, Joel Rae, said Friday that the Lifetime Achievement Award was a direct reflection of how Hays led his personal life and his law enforcement career.
“It speaks to his credibility with all law enforcement across Colorado, and it’s well-deserved,” Rae said.
With Hays, Rae said his No. 1 priority always was doing the right thing.
“His integrity and compassion for making a difference in Steamboat Springs was never questioned,” Rae said.
A section of Pine Grove Road near the Mountain Fire Station was renamed JD Hays Way.
Western Colorado Peace Officers Association Awards Chairman Lynn Hood presented the award with retired Craig Police Department Chief Glen Sherman. According to the association’s website, the award is given for exemplary law enforcement and community service.
“Hays was well-known for running a great department and putting his community first,” the website states.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com