Steamboat Police Department welcomes new commander
Steamboat Springs is the smallest community Mark Beckett has ever lived in, but as a police officer with a track record for building trust with the citizens he’s served, the cozy and remote atmosphere may be the perfect fit.
“The relationship here is something I’ve never experienced before — so much support, so much appreciation from the community,” Beckett said. “It’s a tough thing to describe to folks who are here and who are used to it.”
A 21-year law enforcement veteran, the new commander for operations grew up in a suburb of Buffalo, New York. During college, he worked as an emergency medical technician. He earned a degree in biology and environmental studies at the University of New York at Buffalo in 2000.
He then served as a police officer in Mesa, Arizona, from 2001 to 2022, where he achieved accolades for his work with nearby Native American tribes.
Beckett helped establish the FBI Central Arizona Safe Trails Task Force that sought to prevent violent crimes in and around tribal communities. He worked with five different tribal communities, but he said the one he worked the closest with was the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
“It really helped with my ability to create relationships, to create trust,” Beckett said. “Ultimately, we reduced violent crime over a three-year period by over 50% on one tribal community.”
In 2020, Beckett was awarded the FBI Director’s Award for Excellence for his contributions to the Safe Trails Task Force.
Beckett believes building relationships with the community benefits police officers as well.
“In the east valley of Phoenix where I’ve worked, we lost officers unfortunately frequently,” Beckett said. “I think in those challenging times, having those relationships in the community really helps the support of the department. It helps morale.”
Beckett said he has two main passions: training and employee wellness. After being assigned to the Mesa Gang Unit, he helped develop a formal training program that several other agencies would adopt.
An important priority for Beckett is to destigmatize therapy and wellness programs. He helped develop an employee wellness program for the Special Operations Division at the Mesa Police Department.
“How can we help our folks be healthier mentally, physically? In my experience that really improves morale, improves longevity, employee longevity, things like retention in some areas where most police departments are struggling right now,” Beckett said.
A lifetime backpacker and skier, Beckett loves everything outdoors.
Beckett arrived on July 23, and in a week, he’ll be joined by his two children — a daughter and son — and his wife of 17 years. He said he’s excited to see his family become a part of Steamboat.
“We’re fortunate to have Mark join the department,” said Police Chief Sherry Burlingame. “He is an excellent leader and has experience working with the community to develop relationships and solve problems.”
To reach Spencer Powell, call 970-871-4229 or email him at spowell@SteamboatPilot.com
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