There is one thing that you always knew about Colorado Academy’s retiring Director of Security Ed Bleã, and that was that he had a lot of experience as a former cop, and there wasn’t anything that would stop him from using it when it came to keeping CA safe.
Officer Ed, as many have come to know him, worked at CA for 15 years as head of the school’s security. Prior to that, he spent 33 years in service to the Denver Police Department, retiring at the rank of Detective.
His resume reads like a TV police blotter: “gun battle with robbery suspect, arrest of gang members after a six-week investigation,” “arrest of armed kidnapping/robbery suspect,” “arrest of armed suspect firing on officers.” His law enforcement record includes the Distinguished Service Cross, multiple Merit Awards and Official Commendations, Medal of Honor, and a Life Saving Award. One of those came when he saved the life of a fellow officer as suspects tried to throw him off a third-story balcony. His commanding officers wrote about how he “epitomized a professional attitude.”
Ed was instrumental in developing and implementing the Child Safety Fingerprint Card, a procedure now critical to a child’s identification record. He also worked hundreds of hours with at-risk youth, coaching sports, accompanying kids on field trips, and provided classes on gang violence, drug prevention, and child safety. He also put in dozens of hours raising money for a benevolent fund in honor of a fellow officer, Shawn Leinen, who was killed in the line of duty.
After more than three decades with the police force, Ed decided to retire. Within months though, former CA Head of School Chris Babbs learned that the guy who lived two houses north of CA on Pierce Street was a retired police officer. In 2006, Mr. Babbs hired Ed to work as CA’s Director of Security. Not only did he provide a constant on-site presence on campus, but he provided faculty and staff training, and he was instrumental in bringing safety protocols and school lockdown procedures to CA.
“Ed goes out of his way to help others,” said Head of School Mike Davis. “Every day he welcomed students and families as they entered campus, and every day he was in the Dining Hall, making sure that students are safe as they gather.” Ed always made sure that every employee and every parent had his cell phone number so they could report concerns to him at any time.
“Ed is a person you can count on to protect and serve. He modeled this in everything he did at CA. He was always on the lookout for threats to the safety and well-being of the community,” Davis said. He was also key to building CA’s new security team, eventually handing off the mantle to new Director of Security Julia Shoun.
“The thing I want to say about Ed,” said Shoun, “is how much he cares about the CA community. He told me from the beginning that this is the ‘best job you’ll ever have!’ He has passed that on to me in a way that is hard to express. I just know that I will do all in my power to make him proud and to ensure that everyone knows that CA is in good hands.”
We’re hoping, though in retirement, that Officer Ed won’t be a stranger. While he is looking forward to spending time fishing with his grandchildren, we look forward to being able to invite him back to campus for what he has said is his favorite CA event: Giant Relay Day. He said that on that day, he most enjoys the interaction of the families and students, as well as the shared sense of camaraderie. “It’s like a big family.” A family that will always include Officer Ed.