Four new Steamboat Springs officers sworn in at pinning ceremony |

Four new Steamboat Springs officers sworn in at pinning ceremony

From left, officers Lonny Shaw, Gene Lee, Ellie Crouch and Brenden Andrews are sworn in by Police Chief Sherry Burlingame during a pinning ceremony on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, at Centennial Hall.
Spencer Powell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The Steamboat Springs Police Department has been short-staffed for a long time, but on Monday, Aug. 15, it swore in four recent graduates of the police academy, two of which were born and raised in Steamboat Springs.

During Monday’s pinning ceremony at Centennial Hall, the SSPD also promoted Sam Silva from detective to patrol sergeant and affirmed Mark Beckett as its new police commander. 

“These individuals represent the future of policing in Steamboat Springs,” said Police Chief Sherry Burlingame at the top of the ceremony. “As you get to know those that we’re celebrating today, you will see that our future is bright.”

The local police force welcomed Ellie Crouch, Brenden Andrews, Lonny Shaw and Gene Lee.

Crouch grew up in Steamboat and graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 2017, after which she completed her degree in criminal justice at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. She has been coaching middle school and high school girls’ basketball along with her sister.

Andrews also spent his childhood in Steamboat, graduating from SSHS in 2018. He then graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in criminology and criminal justice in May 2022.

Shaw hails from Colorado Springs and has lived in Colorado his whole life. A lover of the outdoors, Shaw has looked to activities such as hiking, camping and fishing as means to escape the city. He enjoys writing stories and songs, going to concerts and listening to heavy metal.

From left, Officers Lonny Shaw, Brenden Andrews, Gene Lee, Chief Sherry Burlingame, Ellie Crouch, Sergeant Sam Silva and Commander Mark Beckett pose for a photo after the pinning ceremony on Monday Aug. 15, 2022.
Spencer Powell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Lee started working with the SSPD in May 2021 as a community service officer before deciding to earn the certifications he needed to become a patrol officer. For 20 years, Lee worked as a firefighter and emergency medical technician for the Honolulu Fire Department in Hawaii. His love for mountains, hiking and skiing brought Lee to Steamboat Springs.

Out of the 21 recruits in their class at the police academy, the four representing the SSPD earned three awards. Officer Shaw earned the Top Gun award, while officer Lee earned both the Leadership Award and the award for Top Driver. 

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“They’re all very, very different people,” said Burlingame as she described the new members of her force. “We want people with different skills and backgrounds.”

Recently promoted patrol sergeant Sam Silva grew up in Steamboat as well. He worked at his parents’ restaurant, the Old West Steakhouse, at a young age. He graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in agricultural business. 

Newly promoted Sergeant Silva has his badge pinned to his uniform by his wife Stephani Silva on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, at Centennial Hall.
Spencer Powell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Silva has worked in law enforcement for 20 years and started his career with the Routt County Sheriff’s Office before joining the SSPD in 2006. He worked as a patrol officer for eight years and was promoted to detective in 2014. 

In accepting his promotion, Silva thanked his family and colleagues, and personally thanked Detective Greg Griffin.

“I want to thank Greg for holding down the detective office with my promotion and doing all the extra work that he’s doing,” Silva said. 

Newly hired Commander Beckett moved to Steamboat from Arizona, where he had an accomplished tenure. He worked alongside the Federal Bureau of Investigation in helping establish the FBI Central Arizona Safe Trails Task Force, where he helped establish connections with local tribal communities. His work with the task force earned him the FBI Director’s Award for Excellence in 2020. 

“A professionally presented badge is a sign of pride, honor, respect, and a symbol of safety,” said Burlingame. “It should always instill a feeling of comfort to citizens in times of distress.”

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