Saturday, February 14, 2015

3-peat for Vail Officer Kurt Mulson

He was here in 1989. And again in 1999. And now as he experiences his third Alpine World Ski Championships in 2015, Vail Code Enforcement Officer Kurt Mulson could write a book about his observations. He’d start by listing three differences between now and the previous Championships: improved technology, increased use of the Incident Command system to manage large-scale events and the potential threat of terrorist activities. Then he’d describe his personal experiences.

Unlike the warm temperatures that have welcomed these races, Officer Mulson’s main memory of the 1989 Championships was the bitter cold that was present for most of the two weeks of the event. “There were nights of ten below to 30 below,” he recalls. Mulson, a retired police sergeant, also notes the Vail police officers’ uniforms and patrol cars have changed for each Championship. In 1989 he was dressed in a tan shirt, brown slacks and tan coat. In 1999 the Vail PD wore light blue shirts, dark blue slacks and dark blue coats. This year the officers are wearing the more traditional dark blue shirts, slacks and coats. The patrol cars have evolved from Saabs, to Ford Explorers, to Volvos, and now the officers drive the Ford Interceptor police cars. Mulson says he’s also had a different Chief of Police for each of the Championships with Dwight Henninger leading the department today.

The one constant for the officers during all three events is dealing with people from all over the world. This means interfacing with people that don’t speak English, recognizing cultural differences and the challenge of holding people accountable for their actions in a firm but fair manner. He says it can be a challenge at times.
And about that book?  He’s already written one. These international events can have unexpected and humorous turns during two weeks. This was the main reason Mulson wrote “Cops Are Human, Too” after he retired from the department following a 30 year career. The theme of the book is about some of the funny and crazy situations police officers can get themselves into despite all their training and experience. Mulson, who couldn’t stay retired for long, has returned to the Vail Police Department as a code enforcement officer. Perhaps a sequel is in the works!