Montrose, CO — In front of friends, family, and fellow officers, the Montrose Police Department swore in three new officers to the department's ranks Monday, backfilling vacancies left in the agency.
Officers Dakota Shea-Shelley, Mariah Smith, and Marcina Sarmeinto officially began duty with the department after completing 16 weeks of peace officer training in Grand Junction.
The Monday morning ceremony, held in the chambers of the Montrose City Council, was the first opportunity the officers had to meet members of the council and other city staff.
"We are very excited that we have Dakota, Mariah, and Marcina coming on board," Montrose Police Chief Blaine Hall said. "I commend them for completing the Western Colorado Peace Officers Academy and look forward to their training here at the Montrose Police Department. They will be a great addition to the team."
Shea-Shelley, a native of Loveland, Colorado, grew up playing with toy police badges as a kid consumed with aspirations of becoming a real officer one day.
"It's a huge deal," Shea-Shelley said following the ceremony. After taking the department oath, his new badge was pinned to his uniform by his grandfather Michael Shea in front of his grandmother Lee.
"It almost doesn't feel real, it feels like a dream," Shea-Shelley said. “I've wanted to do this for a very long time. I've always wanted to help people out. I really like the community policing aspect."
Smith, a native to the Montrose area, had worked for the past two-and-a-half years with fire and EMS services in Olathe. While working closely with law enforcement officers during this time, Smith witnessed both the tough times and the camaraderie between officers that inspired her to apply for an opening at the Montrose Police Department.
Smith had her badge pinned by Olathe Deputy Fire/EMS Chief Scott Fitzgerald.
"It's been a very special day, my family came out, it feels very good that all my hard work for the past 16 weeks has paid off," Smith said. "I finally made it. It's very honorable.”
Sarmeinto is a native of Ridgway and has always had an interest in law enforcement and the psychology involved with criminal investigations.
"I think there is a lot of social issues in our country that can be solved with quality policing, and that's something I want to be part of," Sarmeinto said.
Sarmeinto had her badge pinned by her mother Catherine and father Paul.
"It means everything,” Sarmeinto said. “It's like my wildest dreams coming true. I just can't believe Chief Hall is giving me the chance to work in his department."
For more city news visit: CityOfMontrose.org.