Chief Dan Brennan and his command staff hosted an interactive panel of current and former Chiefs, officers and firefighters who shared their stories and history protecting and serving the City of Wheat Ridge.
The event took place on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 from 5 – 7 p.m.
To watch the video click HERE.
The Panel of current and former police chiefs, and officers included:
Howard Jaidinger joined the Wheat Ridge Fire Department (WRFD) in 1967 and served 22 years, retiring as an Assistant Chief. He was responsible for starting the WRFD’s first Arson Bureau and became one of the first two arson investigators. In 1967, Jaidinger was one of the original members of the committee to incorporate the City of Wheat Ridge, and served as one of the first two WRPD Reserve Officers, a role in which he served for 10 years. He also served as a director for the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District for 10 years.
Howard Jaquay joined the Wheat Ridge Police Department in May of 1970. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1972, Lieutenant in 1974, and was selected Chief in 1982. He served as the City’s second Chief of Police from 1982-1989. Jaquay started the new position of Crime Prevention/Training Officer, and reorganized the Investigations Bureau from general assignment detectives to Property, Persons, and Juvenile Teams. He also opted the department out of the Fire and Police Pension Association’s pension system and started a money purchase plan. Several other departments followed his lead. Since retiring from WRPD, Jaquay has worked for the Colorado Department of Corrections Parole Division, where he established and ran the Fugitive Investigation and Apprehension Team (FIAT).
Kent Higgins was an active member on the Wheat Ridge Fire Department from 1967-74. He was active as an arson investigator for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and an arson/NFPA Codes consultant for the 1st Judicial District prior to the incorporation of Wheat Ridge as a city. He was commissioned as an arson investigator for the City in late 1969 and remained active with the Metropolitan Arson Investigators Association. Higgins went through training to become a reserve officer and was commissioned in 1970. Members of this new unit received the original WRPD officer’s brass badge.
Joe Cassa started at the Wheat Ridge Police Department in 1972 as a dispatcher, and went on to become a police officer, sergeant, lieutenant, commander, and division chief. He served as Division Chief for WRPD from 1972-2015. Cassa worked with the community and other law enforcement agencies on hundreds of projects over the course of his career. Serving Wheat Ridge for 43 years, he holds the distinction of being the longest tenured member of the Wheat Ridge Police Department.