Colorado’s 2020 Emergency Manager of the Year award went to Jim Spratlen, who serves as Montezuma County’s emergency manager.
Spratlen was hired in March 2020 to coordinate the county response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also assisted with the East Canyon, Spring and Yellow Jacket fires, and built up the county’s emergency operations and hazard mitigation plans.
Spratlen gave regular live updates on the county’s pandemic situation, plans and progress. He coordinated testing and vaccine distribution, delivered health information to the public and supplied the community with personal protection equipment.
As a response team leader, Spratlen coordinated with the health department and Southwest Memorial Hospital, facilitated state health orders, brought in National Guard assistance, and secured state and federal funding needed to fight the pandemic and help local businesses survive.
His productivity, and commitment on behalf of the public in the face of a major crisis were recognized by the Colorado Emergency Management Association.
His colleagues, Dolores County Emergency manager Keith Keesling, and Durango Emergency Manager Terry Hoecker, presented the award during Tuesday’s commissioner meeting.
“Jim worked tirelessly to set up a virtual emergency operation center to ensure the coordination of all local responding agencies,” Hoecker said. “He oversaw and gave direction of public information and kept the Board of County Commissioners and the county administrator informed with timely and accurate situation reports.”
A proclamation states Spratlen effectively worked as a liaison between multiple municipal governments, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, law enforcement agencies, fire protection districts, Southwest Memorial Hospital, county and state health departments, Axis Integrated Health, long-term care facilities, and local businesses.
Spratlen said he was honored to be recognized and to serve the public.
He then got back to work updating commissioners about the status of the pandemic, economic recovery and preparations for the drought and upcoming wildfire season.
Spratlen previously served as a police officer for the Durango Police Department from 1995 to 2016, including as chief of police for five of those years.