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Rifle PD's Deb Funston becomes first female leader of Colorado's police chiefs

RPD Chief Debra Funston is sworn in at the recent CACP conference.
Courtesy of the Rifle Police Department
RPD Chief Debra Funston is sworn in at the recent CACP conference.

Rifle Police Department’s Chief Debra Funston attended a ceremony last week for the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, to be sworn in as their first ever female president of the association. KDNK’s Hattison Rensberry has more.

"Rensberry:The Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police is a group that focuses on the improvement, safety, effectiveness, and professionalism of Colorado law enforcement. This year, their annual conference was held in Estes Park and among presentations on issues in her field, rifle, police department's, chief funds, and became the new association president.
Here she is, detailing a few reasons why she was chosen for the job.

Funston: Part of it is just the willingness to serve, but it does have some responsibilities with it. What we try to do in our association is to get a wide variety geographically of people that serve those roles within the organization so that, you know, we have representation from around the state because what happens in the Denver Metro area isn't necessarily happening on the Western slope, and so to really provide a good balance for the organization, we really try to have people from different geographical locations within the state serve.
That did play a big role in my getting nominated.

Rensberry: Speaking of responsibilities, I'd love to hear a little bit more about some additional responsibilities you're taking on with this role. What sort of tasks are going to end up on your desk?

Funston: Well, it could be a number of things depending on what occurs within the state of Colorado.
With respect to public safety, one of the items that we are actively involved in is of course, the legislative session. And so we have a group of lobbyists that are looking at bills that are being, uh, proposed and particularly those bills that are pertinent to public safety. And then as an organization, we try to determine what our stance will be on that.
So as president, I think I will be heavily involved in some of that, but also providing a face, if you will. For the Colorado Chiefs that are a part of this membership. So just kind of leading the charge, I guess. You know, another thing that I, uh, foresee happening within the organization is just with Covid and a variety of other things that have happened are everybody's staffing, I think in, in many professions is at a very low level.
And so that requires that chiefs a lot of times don't have the ability or the time or the resources really to be connecting on a statewide level. I'm really focusing this year on how to reach out to all of the chiefs in the state and just hopefully provide them a continuous flow of information of things that are going on and invite them to future conferences. You know, it just depends. A lot of times, you know what happens in the states that can either really up my amount of responsibility or I'm really hoping for a fairly smooth year for the state of Colorado.

Rensberry: You are the first woman to be appointed to this seat, is that correct?

Funston: Uh, yes ma'am.

Rensberry: How does that feel for you? What does that mean to you?

Funston: Well, for me, of course, I'm very proud to, to be serving in this capacity, not only to my community, but the community of Colorado and all of our citizens. So I'm very proud of that. I've. Been going on 30 years now, 35 years actually in law enforcement.
And so, you know, I feel like I've worked very hard. With respect to the gender, I think it's an exciting time. Law enforcement for many, many decades has been predominantly a male dominated field, and that is rapidly changing, and I just hope that my position inspires. Other young people, whether male or female, to want to aspire to getting involved in law enforcement.
And if anything, I hope I can just be an inspiration to young people that, you know, you can work hard and you can, you can get there.

Rensberry: That's all I've got for you today, Chief Funston. Is there anything else you'd like to say while we've got the mic on?

Funston: I just appreciate you reaching out and you know, I just think that we have a lot of law enforcement and public safety officers, all of our counterparts and first responders across the state, that, you know, even given the resource shortages that we've all faced, they are still out there working extremely hard to protect their communities. And I just wanted to give a shout out to all of those first responders out there that are risking their lives every day to, to take care of their citizens and their communities.
I feel very proud to have been serving at this point for 35 years.

Rensberry: For KDNK News, I'm Hattison Rensberry."

Hattison Rensberry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and Drawing, but has worked for newsrooms in various capacities since 2019.
She also provides Editorial Design for the Sopris Sun.