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Holiday Heroes

First Responders Spend Holidays Serving our Community

Article by Ashley Hamershock

Photography by The Colorado Springs Police Department, David Sanden Photography

Originally published in Colorado Springs Lifestyle

Ahhhhhh, the holidays! 

For many, it means family and friends gathering to celebrate with feasts, gifts and cozy fires. For others, the holidays usher in struggles. Danger doesn’t take a break, after all. There are still fires, falls and kids choking on toys. Domestic violence, car accidents, and heart attacks don't stop, either. 

That’s why dozens of police officers, firefighters, EMTs and military folks in our community put their own celebrations on hold to make sure the rest of us stay safe. 

Night Shift in Stetson Hills

Colorado Springs Police Sgt. Jeff Ma served eight years in the military before starting his second career as a police officer 15 years ago. These days, he’s on night shift in northeastern Colorado Springs.

This father of four said although his 13-year-old understands the commitments of his job, “it affects my younger ones more.” Ma said it’s occasionally tough to watch others celebrating when he’s away from his own family around the holidays. But that melancholy lasts only a moment.

“I’m happy for them,” he said. “This is the reason I do what I do – it’s to make sure the community is safe.”

His division receives a lot of domestic violence calls. Those calls ramp up around the holidays due to economic challenges, visiting relatives and alcohol. Ma sees a big part of his job as “giving a voice to and empowering victims."

"Officers contact people at their lowest – on their worst days,” he said. “It’s a privilege to serve the community and right the wrongs right there. We hopefully make their lives better.”

Day Shift in Sand Creek

Officer Logan Scheppele always knew he wanted a career that would allow him to give back. He's been an officer with CSPD for nearly six years. When he was younger, he volunteered to work numerous holidays. These days, he and his wife have a two-year-old daughter, but even so, he never expects to have more than half of the holidays off.

“When I’m at work, it’s still a nice experience to have,” he said. “As a shift, we come together.  … We let each other know that we’re in it together. It’s a different kind of a celebration.”

The officers have a common mission: “We’re here because we want to give back to the community,” he said. “We want to get people out of bad situations. We want to offer resources. We want to provide an ear. We’re all in here because we care.”

He encourages anyone in a bad situation to please seek help.

“I know it can be embarrassing," he said, adding, "We want to go out. We want to make sure you’re safe. ... We are here to help.”

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