Woman hired as police commander | SteamboatToday.com

Woman hired as police commander

With the hire, department now fully staffed

— For the first time in known history, a woman will be supervising officers at the Steamboat Springs Police Department.

Following a nationwide search, Police Chief Cory Christensen said Tuesday he has hired Vail Police Department Sgt. Annette Dopplick to be Steamboat’s new commander. She will begin work July 11.

“I am hiring what I think is the most-qualified person for our organization,” Christensen said.

He said Dopplick came with a high recommendation from her current boss in Vail.

“The real tell for me is when a boss says, ‘I would rather you not take them, because I need them,’” Christensen said.

Dopplick’s experience is vast.

Twenty-six years ago, she hopped off a Greyhound bus in Frisco and never left Summit County. She was a ski patroller, seasonal boat ranger and joined the Vail Police Department in 2005 as a community service officer. That same year, she became a police officer and was quickly promoted, earning the rank of sergeant in 2007.

Dopplick has been the sergeant of the investigations department since 2013. On Tuesday, she was working a fraud case involving an employee suspected of stealing $20,000 worth of merchandise from a business.

Outside work, Dopplick describes herself as an outdoors enthusiast who still shreds the mountain and focuses on a couple of activities, such as road biking and hiking during the summer.

“Winter is still my favorite season,” Dopplick said.

Christensen said Dopplick showed a real understanding of policing in a resort mountain town.

“Her fit between the organization and community was exceptional,” Christensen said. “Even in her short time in the building, she endeared herself with the staff.”

Dopplick said she went into law enforcement because she wanted to serve her community.

“The truth is, I’ve always had this little thing in my heart for Steamboat,” said Dopplick, who had been visiting for decades.

She said she was encouraged to apply for the job, because there is a lot of talk in the Colorado law enforcement community about the positive things Christensen has done at the Steamboat department.

“The more I found out, the more I discovered I’m the perfect fit in that team,” Dopplick said.

Sixteen men joined Dopplick in applying for the position. Christensen conducted phone interviews with all 17 applicants and informed them of some of the hardships that come with living in Steamboat, such as the cost of living and the amount of snow the area receives.

“I call them the sticker shock questions,” Christensen said.

He also asked the applicants about their views on transparency and how they viewed the state of policing today.

A team of city department heads interviewed the five finalists who visited Steamboat. Christensen met with them individually, and a four-member community panel gave feedback to Christensen.

“She was basically the top pick for the teams,” Christensen said.

Diane Moore, executive director of Advocates Building Peaceful Communities, was one of the four community members who interviewed the candidates.

“They came presenting to us about some ideas they may have,” Moore said. “She kept my attention.”

As a woman who helps victims of domestic violence, Moore was excited to hear about the hire and was looking forward to working with Dopplick.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Moore said.

Christensen said Dopplick is taking a pay cut to come to Steamboat. She will be making $103,000 per year.

Dopplick will be overseeing records, evidence, investigations and animal control. Commander Jerry Stabile will continue overseeing patrol officers and community service officers.

With Dopplick’s hire, the police department is fully staffed for the first time in a long time, though a fourth sergeant and a detective still need to be promoted. An officer also needs to be assigned to the All Crimes Enforcement Team.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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