A formidable duo with the Broomfield Police Department have retired within five months of one another, leaving a legacy of a combined 68 years of service.
Sgt. Steve Griebel, who served with the department for 32 years, last month joined his wif,e Cmdr. Barb Griebel, who retired in October, after 36 years at the department.
Barb Griebel came to the department in 1983 and has worked patrol, community service and has been a commander in the Communications, Records, Administrative Services and Patrol divisions, and spent time as a manager for a department computer project.
When she was hired, she promised the Patrick Ahlstrom, who was police chief at the time, she would stay for two years.
Broomfield was small at the time, she said, and was often treated like a “training ground” for other agencies.
Unlike other officers who came in for their certification and moved to larger departments, Barb Griebel stayed.
“It was the community,” she said. “It was an amazing community to serve and I worked with good people. The type of service Broomfield offered just resonated with me.”
Since retirement she has spent time doing activities through her church and just “unwinding.”
“A lifetime of a service career kind of takes a toll on your soul,” she said.
The few months since she left the department also have given her time to think about what comes next. Her husband has similar plans.
Griebel, who retired March 10, said after taking a break, he’ll start to look for projects or part-time work. Former Chief Howard Cornell hired him in 1987. Before that he worked as an electrician and distinctly remembers a day, when crawling around an attic where the temperature was 140 degrees, thinking he couldn’t imagine doing this type of work at 50.
On his way home that evening, he stopped at a Taco Bell, where he struck up a conversation with a police officer who was eating inside.
“I thought, I’m no different from this guy,” Griebel said. “I can do this job.”
Over the past 32 years he has been a school resource officer; a Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or DARE, officer; worked as a training coordinator and detective, in the Animal Services and Traffic divisions and for the department’s fleet division. He also worked in the department’s Civil Unit and as support staff for the department’s SWAT team.
He was promoted to sergeant in 2001, when Broomfield became a county. He was assigned to the jail as part of the transition team and hired 30 new officers, designed the new jail and created all the policies and procedures to train new hires. At the time Broomfield officers used four jails in Boulder, Jefferson County, Adams and Weld counties, Griebel said, sometimes delivering inmates to all four in one day.
He likes telling the story of how he met his wife at an armed robbery.
Griebel was the second on scene at a robbery at King Soopers at Sheridan Boulevard and 120th Avenue.
“I look to the right and see Barb and her sergeant pull up,” he said. “She pulls out a shotgun and her hair clip came out, so her hair is blowing.”
She had been an officer for several years at that point, and since the department didn’t have an official capacity for officers to talk about their mental health, Griebel ended up turning to Barb Griebel for help and the two got closer. They have been married for 30 years.
They cleared their relationship with the chief, he said, and separated their personal and professional lives.
The department threw retirement parties for both officers, noting their accomplishments and awards.
“It’s been a really fulfilling career,” Steve Griebel said. “I understand the importance of police and how it affects the quality of life of residents.”