Officer helps victim of domestic violence

By Amanda Vaughan

8 a.m.
Officer Ken Gillette opens the door to his patrol car. The secure police department parking lot doors open and his day begins. A quick trip to the records department is soon interrupted by the first call out.

7-Eleven located on 2540 W. 10th St. near the victim’s apartment.

7-Eleven located on 2540 W. 10th St. near the victim’s apartment. Photo by Amanda Vaughan

Gillette has been a police officer in Colorado for 29 years. He has been a Greeley PD officer for 19 years. He and so many others put themselves in harm’s way every day.          
8:27 a.m.
Gillette enters the 7-Eleven located on 2540 West 10th St. The gas station appears to be running normally.
The manager of the gas station points toward the employee-only bathroom, where a young woman and her children took refuge. Gillette knocks on the door and announces his presence.
The door slowly opens and two young faces appear first. The two girls, ages 5 and 3, walk eagerly out of the small room. Their mother soon follows. She is dressed in oversized gray sweatpants and a blue sweatshirt. Her hair is pulled back in a low, messy pony tail.
It becomes apparent why the police were called. Her right eye is red, swollen, and starting to bruise. Tears have glossed over her eyes and dampened her cheeks.
Gillette asks her what happened and the story pours out of her. She works nights…she supports her girls…he does not have a job…and she begins to cry again.
“I can’t do this no more,” the woman said over and over.
Gillette takes careful notes as the story continues.
 The two little girls are stimulated by all that is going on in the store and sick of staying near the small, stuffy bathroom. Her story is interrupted multiple times because the girls have wandered off.
The manager notices the woman having problems telling her story to Gillette, so he decides to round up both girls at the Slurpee machine. He gathers two cups and pours a bright blue slush into each cup. He helps both girls with a straw and tells them to enjoy.
After her side of the story is gathered, Gillette informs the woman that pictures of her injury must be taken for evidence. Gillette hands her a Victim Rights and Assistance pamphlet and asks her if she has any friends or family to stay with. She says “no.”
Before Gillette leaves to get the other side of the story, the young woman informs him that her boyfriend is bipolar and has been off his medication for a while. He asks if there are any guns or weapons in the house.
9:14 a.m.
 Gillette makes his way to the young man’s house. The woman and her two girls remained at the 7-Eleven. Gillette calls in for back-up. Three other police officers respond to the call. The apartment door faces another building and a courtyard. They decide to place two officers at the front entrance and one at the back entrance.
After a while of waiting at the unanswered door, it becomes apparent the suspect is not there. Just as they began to give up hope, a man starts to walk up the courtyard.
9:40 a.m.
The suspect is placed in handcuffs and patted down for anything in his pockets. He curses at the three officers, who continue to tell him why he is being arrested.
“She did it to herself,” he said. “Every time we get into a fight I leave and she calls the police saying I hit her.”
The suspect had been arrested for the same crime just six months earlier, and he had a restraining order against him. He is charged with third-degree assault and criminal mischief.
10:30 a.m.
Gillette finishes his paperwork and enters his evidence into the case file. While he finishes, another officer makes sure the victim and two girls get home safely.
Only three hours into the shift, Gillette still has a long day ahead of him.

Victim Rights and Assistance

In emergencies dial 911
For victim assistance please call:
(970) 350-9657
(970) 350-9667
Or visit for more information.