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Deputy Derek Geer EOW 2/8/16

Deputy Derek Geer On February 8, 2016, Deputy Derek Geer was killed in the line of duty responding to a report of a man with a gun. As a final act of service and selflessness, Deputy Derek Geer remained on life support until his organs could be donated.  He is the second Mesa County law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty. 

Derek Geer was a veteran of the United States Navy.  His entire 15-year career in law enforcement was spent with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office where he faithfully served his community as a Deputy Sheriff.  He was a dedicated husband to his wife of 17 years, Kate and a doting and loving father to their son Ian and daughter Macey. Derek was known for his great smile and sense of humor.  He was always joking and never took himself too seriously.  Geer was honored with the Lifesaving award in 2012 for helping revive a woman in cardiac arrest. In December of 2016, he was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. Deputy Geer is the first person to ever receive the Medal of Honor in the history of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. 

On May 13, 2017, the name of Deputy Sheriff Derek Mace Geer was formally dedicated to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC during the 29th Annual Candlelight Vigil during National Police Week.

In the written request made by Sheriff Matt Lewis to formally request Deputy Geer’s name be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial he wrote: 

It is with heartfelt sincerity that I ask the name of Deputy Derek Mace Geer to be included on the memorial wall.  Deputy Geer dedicated his life to the service of the people of Mesa County.  For 15 years he faithfully served his community to the best of his ability until his end of watch on February 8, 2016.  He exemplified the traits one would expect in a public servant. He was caring, compassionate, trustworthy, and always service-oriented.   He was strong, loyal, and steadfast in his commitment to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and to his peers.  Derek loved his community and was a true servant of good.

Deputy Edward Innes EOW 9/27/1906

Deputy Edward InnesOn September 26, 1906, Deputy Edward Innes was struck from behind with a piece of kindling and became the first Mesa County law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty.  Inmate George McGarvey, jailed since April 1, 1906, on charges of attempting to criminally assault a nine-year-old girl, used the attack on Innes to escape the Mesa County Jail.  28-year-old Innes passed away the following day. 

McGarvey, captured by DeBeque rancher William McDowell on September 30, was tried on October 3, convicted on October 4, and sentenced to death by hanging on October 5, 1906.  Swift justice for what was described as one of the foulest deeds enacted in Grand Junction. 

Edward Innes, a resident of Grand Junction since the age of four, was the only child of William and Lucy Innes. Edward’s father was the first elected Sheriff of the newly formed Mesa County from 1885 to 1886.  Edward was Chief of the Grand Junction Fire Department for several years prior to his employment in the Mesa County Jail.  When William Innes passed away on November 28, 1926, it was noted that Edward was “named to the responsible position of Undersheriff.”  No other mention of this title has been found. 

Although Edward never married and had no children, descendants of the Innes clan can be found throughout the country, including Harold Daniels of Grand Junction whose mother Josie was Edward’s cousin.  Harold and his wife Claudelle attended Edward Innes’ induction into the Colorado Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial on May 5, 2000, at the Colorado State Patrol Academy.  

Several years later, the request was made to add Edward Innes to the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial.  The request was granted on February 13, 2007.  The name of Edward Innes was unveiled on May 13, 2007, at the 19th annual candlelight vigil as part of the National Police Week celebration in Washington, D.C.  

As referred to by family and friends of Edward in a Daily Sentinel article dating September 28, 1906 – His character was above reproach, his disposition was such that drew to him readily warm friends that never wavered in their regard for him.  True hearted, high and noble in his impulses and faithful to his friends there is little wonder that he was popular and there is little wonder the entire city should be stirred with indignation and anger over his tragic death at the hands of the vilest of criminals that were ever confined in a Mesa County prison.

 In December of 2017, Innes was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. Family members still living in Colorado accepted the award on his behalf.

Learn more about Deputy Edward Innes from The Daily Sentinel.