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New commander of CSPD's Gold Hill Division to start July 7

       A new commander is about to come on board at the Colorado Springs Police Department's Gold Hill Division.
       Rafael Cintron, a 29-year department veteran who has been commander of the CSPD Falcon Division since last September, will replace Pat Rigdon, who had worked at Gold Hill since 2009 (as a lieutenant) and has led its operations since spring of 2012.
       The changeover will take place July 7.
       Rigdon will become commander of the city's Special Enforcement Division, which includes the SWAT team, canine unit, bomb squad, motorcycle units, airport police, municipal court security and code enforcement. Other than the SWAT team - of which he was once a member - he admitted in a recent interview that he'll face a “learning curve” for his new division's responsibilities.

Inside the Police Department's Gold Hill Division lobby after the Avenue Task Force meeting both attended in May, incoming Commander Rafael Cintron (left) shakes hand with current Commander Pat Rigdon, whose last day in that role will be July 6.
Westside Pioneer photo
       The Gold Hill Division covers a southwesterly swathe of the city, including the Westside and downtown. The commander oversees about 120 employees, 85 of them sworn officers. It's not that uncommon for the Police Department to change commanders of divisions. Cintron will be the fourth since the Gold Hill facility on Moreno opened in 2006.
       In a separate interview, Cintron said he's “real excited” about coming to Gold Hill. Of the four geographical divisions in the city, it's the only one he hasn't been assigned to before, and his perception is that it gets the most citizen participation.
       In that regard, he thinks Rigdon has brought about positive reciprocation. Attending neighborhood meetings with the current commander as part of his transition, Cintron said, “I've been impressed with how involved the community members are. Pat has done a great job establishing relationships with the different neighborhoods, and I'm looking forward to continuing that.”
       Rigdon, while ready for a new challenge, said he's sorry to leave. “It will definitely be a change,” he said. “One thing I'll miss at Special Enforcement is that I won't have the same level of community interaction. I'll have to figure it out, put my own twist on it.”
       On the Westside, Rigdon has worked a lot with the Avenue Task Force (ATF), a citizen/business group seeking to curtail criminal behavior in the “No Man's Land” area of Colorado Avenue west of 31st Street. In response to ATF requests for help, in fall 2012 he found a way to dedicate two patrol officers to the avenue area.
       This gained him praise from the ATF as well as the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN), the city-recognized advocacy group for the older Westside.
       “The good thing is, I'm not leaving town,” Rigdon said. “I certainly hope the people over here let me know if they need something. But I think they'll be in good hands with Rafael.”
       One thing both commanders have in common is growing up in the Springs (Rigdon went to Palmer High, Cintron to Widefield) and making the CSPD their careers. While the first 4 of Rigdon's 23 years in law enforcement were in Laramie, Wyo., Cintron has been with the local department ever since he earned a criminal justice degree from Kansas Wesleyan College.
       Another similarity between the two is a wide range of experience within the department after starting as a patrol officer. Cintron has also been commander of the Stetson Hills Division, a sergeant at Sand Creek, director of the CSPD training academy (which brings 50 to 100 officers a year onto the force), a member of the Metro Vice and Narcotics unit and the department's public information officer.
       The Gold Hill Division phone number is 385-2100.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 6/20/14; Community: Public Safety)

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