The Legacy Of Deputy Curtis Bartlett

This photo of Deputy Bartlett was the last posted just before his death on his Police Fitness Facebook Page.

The tragic death of Carroll County (VA) Sheriff’s Office Deputy Curtis Bartlett during a police pursuit Thursday night has rocked the profession. We have heard from many in our audience of what a difference that Curtis made in their life.

Indeed, while just 32 years old, the Army veteran that had served in Iraq had already been a K9 officer, SRO and was pushing fitness to a new level in his area.

One mother of a young boy with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Emily Brown, said that even though Bartlett was serving in Iraq he shaved his head in support of her son and organized a flag to be flown over the US embassy in Baghdad in her son’s honor and even brought the flag back to him as a surprise.

Deputy Bartlett (left) was a sponsored athlete and featured in a popular program at Athlete Hannah Eden left this message about him.

Deputy Bartlett (left) was a sponsored athlete and featured in a popular program at Athlete Hannah Eden left this message about him.

Ron Passmore said that he lost 100 pounds in 8 months because of Bartlett’s help and support and that is one story out of many others that this hero directly impacted.

Bartlett ran the website, and the very popular Facebook page, Police Fitness. In addition to the work in his community, it is through these venues that Bartlett touched thousands of lives.

The messages and tributes to this great man are too many to list here but here are a few:

I just woke to this horrible news. You were an inspiration to many of us. You Curtis will be sadly missed. Thank you. May god bless you. True hero.

Rest In Peace Curtis. You got me to make a change in my life and take responsibility for my own health and well being. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. You will never be forgotten.

So upset right now in hearing of his passing. What a good man, never met him but as he appeared and well respected by many! He was an idol and an inspiration. This is terrible news. The few times I spoke to him on snapchat he has been helpful. God speed big man! Thank you for your service.

It’s hard to know what to say when any law enforcement officer dies so young and with so  much potential to come.  Bartlett’s death should remind all of us that our opportunity in this profession is a small window in time that we may never know when it will close.  We assume that it will be on our time schedule but often it is not.

Deputy Curtis Bartlett used every second of his time to impact as many people as he could.  He didn’t know when his time would end but it was obvious that when he woke up each day that he lived that day like it may be the last of his life.  He poured his energy, his time and his life into others and he served not only this nation and his community but anyone else that would let him.

In my Courageous Leadership Seminar, I often talk about our legacy and what will that look like for each of us?  It is a responsibility that we all bear and we all must work towards and if you are ever confused as to what that should look like, just look up at Deputy Curtis Bartlett and use him as your standard.


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  1. Harvey Bumfelder

    Didn’t know Curtis but met his dad. I suspect everything people are saying about this young man is true and probably lots more. The tragedy I see is the reason for his death. I saw nothing in the news about the people he and the other officers were persuing being Actively Violent, e.g. an immediate threat to the community. Sure high speed driving is a threat but chasing someone at high speed encourages them to drive faster. In this crash only Barlett died. That ALONE is a terible tragedy that will never be undone. But… think about this: What if the vehicle he could not avoid hitting was a “Soccer Mom Van” full of kids. The destruction of his cruiser indicates he was traveling at a very high rate of speed. Don’t get me wrong… he was SUPPOSED to driving at a high rate of speed. He was under orders to drive FAST. But let us suppose the Soccer Mom’s Van was hit. There would surely have been others injured and maybe other deaths. In an age of electronic communication, drones, helicopters and determined police it seems to me the people that they were chasing could have been caught without the high speed. If these two had been shooting at people, kidnapped someone then by all means the police have the responsibility to pursue and capture regardless of the effort required. But… in this case I haven’t heard that the fugitives were a threat to the community and I suspect they could have been captured without endangering others including the police even if that capture took place at a later time. Without a doubt Deputy Bartlett was a good man and a good policeman. Its a shame his life was cut short when it didn’t necessarily have to be that way. There need to be rules of engagement about how fast, how long and why before a high speed chase is continued.

    • PawneeBill47

      Woulda, shoulda, coulda………..what if a soccer mom, a bus load of veterans, a pickup full of puppies………………we do not know the circumstances. You take a lot for granted. “I’ll take what I would do if I were there for $500 Alex.”

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