5 minutes with Steamboat Springs Police Chief Sherry Burlingame | SteamboatToday.com

5 minutes with Steamboat Springs Police Chief Sherry Burlingame

Sherry Burlingame is sworn by 14th Judicial District Chief Judge Michael O'Hare in as Steamboat Springs first female police chief Monday, Jan. 25, 2022, at Citizen’s Hall in downtown Steamboat Springs.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today.

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in the Move To Steamboat and the Yampa Valley magazine that was published Dec. 23, 2022.

Chief Sherry Burlingame has been in Steamboat nearly a year and has made the most of her time here, attending events and exploring the valley. From a long housing search to a slew of activities, she’s gotten the full Steamboat treatment from the get go. Reporter Spencer Powell caught up with her about her first impressions and what the community means to her.

What brought you to Steamboat Springs?

Well, I’ve been considering moving to the state of Colorado for several years. I was fortunate enough to see that the police department had an opening for Chief, so I started researching it and it seemed like a perfect fit. I talked to a couple of people familiar with the area and got sold on it really, really quickly. So, when I came up to visit to check it out, see what it was like, I was immediately struck by the beauty of the area. And then when I started interacting with people around town and whatnot, everybody was so nice and so incredibly welcoming and just genuine people. I immediately just fell in love with the town and community.

While settling in, what stood out to you the most?

I did come here the perfect time of the year. It was just before Christmas when I went through the process, and then I actually moved here towards mid-January. The scenery was idyllic with the snow and the lights and the decorations and everything, and you couldn’t help but smile as you walked through downtown. But really, what stood out to me most was just the sense of community — everybody wanting to help everybody else, the laid back atmosphere and attitude of everybody just really, really drew me in.

What does the word community mean to you in regards to Steamboat?

There very much is a sense of community here. Everybody wants to help everybody else. I’m a stranger, nobody knows me and I’m coming into town. They didn’t know who I was. And they were just so friendly and welcoming and willing to answer my question. And I remember time and time again I heard “Hey once you visit Steamboat, you’re going to move here.” Which I think is funny and I’ve heard many other people say that, but it really is this sense of we’re all in this together. We have to help each other out. We’re one big family in Steamboat Springs. And to me that’s how it is. And wherever I go, and I see people they’ll say, “hello, how are you doing? Is there anything need?” And it’s just really nice to know that there’s a very large welcoming community support system here, and people really do care about each other.

What are your favorite things to do in the valley?

One of the draws to Steamboat was just the outdoor lifestyle. I grew up back east, so I’m used to hills, mountains, lots of water, green trees, and I just love that vibe. And so I’ve spent a lot of my time since I’ve been here downhill skiing and then I transitioned into that mud season where I started doing some hiking. I tried my hand at some snowshoeing. I love backpacking, mountain biking, paddleboarding, and kayaking. I’ve spent my time trying all my sports throughout the area of Steamboat Springs and I love just being in the outdoors and on the mountain.

Do you have any advice for people moving to Steamboat?

My first piece of advice is hunker down and be prepared for the long haul to find some housing, and keep the faith. Everything happens for a reason. And if you really want to be here, you can figure it out as many of us have. And my other piece of advice would be to embrace the area, embrace the community and become part of what we are at Steamboat Springs.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.