• Tony Lane retired in 2011 after 45 years in law enforcement. File photo

Fishing bonded the lawman and his family. The summers were made for it.

It could be tough to keep pace with Tony Lane, though, when it came to reeling them in.

Lane’s oldest son, Joe, remembers joking with the family about that after a recent trip to Eleven Mile Reservoir.

“He was catching all the fish and we were netting them,” he said.

Tony Lane had long been battling cancer, but this past summer, he was “like the normal Dad,” the son said.

Catching fish, taking photographs, spending time with his wife of 50 years, Lynne, and their six children and 10 grandchildren — that’s largely how the former police chief of Castle Rock enjoyed retirement before his death Oct. 28. He was 73.

“He was an incredible father,” Joe Lane said. “He was a best friend to all of his kids.”

Lane served more than 45 years — the final 24 as Castle Rock’s police chief — in law enforcement. He retired in 2011.

“One of the things I like to say is he helped people out and kept people out of trouble way more than he did enforce the law,” Joe Lane said.

The lawman

John Anderson, a commander with the Castle Rock Police Department, was on the force when Lane arrived. He would be named captain under Lane, serving as second in command.

“I learned so much from Tony,” Anderson said. “Tony was not only my chief and mentor, he was a very close and dear friend.”

Lane’s path to Castle Rock started in Lakewood as a patrol officer in the mid-1960s.

Lane was born in Brooklyn, New York, but grew up in Kansas. In the early 1970s, he returned to Kansas, and he landed his first job as a chief there, in Great Bend, in 1979.

In the early 1980s, he came back to Colorado to become chief in Rangely, a small town in the northwestern part of the state.

Lane saw opportunity in Castle Rock and took over as the town’s chief in 1987, when it was home to fewer than 10,000 residents.

By the time he retired, the town’s population was pushing 50,000 — it has since climbed to closer to 60,000 — and development was ramping up. The number of officers more than tripled as Lane worked to ensure that public-safety efforts kept pace.

“It was satisfying to be part of Castle Rock’s growth,” Lane told the News-Press in an article published just days before his retirement.

Under Lane’s watch, the police department developed dispatch, a victim-assistance team, traffic officers, K9 units and community programs, according to the town.

“He provided the Castle Rock Police Department with strength and wisdom as the department matured and grew,” said Castle Rock Police Chief Jack Cauley, Lane’s successor.

Of family and fish

Lane had a passion for wildlife and photography, merging the two in work featured in various publications. He wrote an occasional outdoors column, accompanied by his photography, for the News-Press.

In July, he wrote of how his love for fishing began.

“It was my grandfather who planted the seed. Ever since I was old enough to remember, he made sure I had a fishing pole in one hand and some fresh bait in the other.

“I learned much from the big man with the mustache and weathered face: how to tie a knot, bait a hook or cast a lure into the hidden depths.

“When my own children came along, it seemed only natural to share this love of nature with them.”

Joe Lane remembers bonding with his father and his siblings over fishing. He also recalls that he and his brothers could be “rambunctious kids” who tested their father’s patience.

But Tony Lane was tolerant, the son said, and the kids learned a lot during the fishing excursions.

“He was always someone you could go to with anything,” Joe Lane said. “He was extremely wise.”

As for being the child of a police chief?

“We were so proud of him,” Joe Lane said. “All of us kids wanted to have him in the foreground.”

In retirement, Tony Lane would cast a wide net when it came to spending time with family.

“Now it is my grandchildren who are honing their casting skills,” he wrote in July. “Any small pond or stream will do and any fish caught is a real trophy. They are always eager to try their luck, yet still not quite certain what to do when a fish pulls. Video games can wait.

“It’s time to go fishing, Papa.”