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Motivated by King Soopers tragedy, Broomfield man sworn in as police officer

Sam Dunbar says slain Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley is his "hero.”

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Sam Dunbar was a man with a plan. He was 19 years old, living in Broomfield and studying to get his real estate license.

“I was going to sell homes and make a lot of money,” Dunbar said.

And then, on March 22 of 2021, a shooter opened fire at the King Soopers on Table Mesa Drive in Boulder, killing 10 people, including Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley.

“That's kind of what sent me over the edge,” Dunbar said.

Inspired by Officer Talley's bravery and sacrifice, Dunbar said he made a quick and irreversible pivot: giving up a potentially lucrative career in real estate for what he describes as a more rewarding career in law enforcement.

“I get to carry a torch that not a lot of people get to carry," Dunbar said.

For the past four months, Dunbar studied and trained at the Pikes Peak Regional Law Enforcement Academy in Colorado Springs. On Thursday night he was sworn in as one of two new members of the Woodland Park Police Department.

Among those who came to celebrate Dunbar’s swearing-in was Leah Talley, Officer Talley's widow, who met Dunbar last year after learning that he was becoming a cop because of her husband.

“She's a very sweet lady, her kids are all very sweet,” Dunbar said. “She was very thankful for me joining, and honored, and I, of course, was very humbled to meet her.”

Dunbar said he intends to keep in touch with Officer Talley’s family for years to come. He also said he hopes his career in law enforcement will be a part of Officer Talley's legacy, and he adds that, if he has to, he will lay down his life trying to save others, just like Eric Talley.

“Without a doubt,” Dunbar said. “I think I'm just carrying on a torch, I think that's the best way to put it.”



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