Officer Taffine Patterson reported to work at Paonia on Aug. 6 and is currently undergoing a 12-week training program. She is the first female member of the department in roughly 10 years, said investigator Neil Ferguson.
Patterson, 44, grew up in Delta, where she has lived since 1977. She worked for 11 years as a school bus driver and has also been a convenience store manager, but said she has been interested in the field of law enforcement for most of her life. She graduated in 2010 from the Delta-Montrose Technical College Law Enforcement Academy. While attending school, she worked for the Department of Corrections for a year to help fund her education.
Following graduation she started her career in law enforcement working for Colorado Parks and Wildlife from 2011 until December 2014 as a commissioned night ranger in the Crawford and Paonia reservoir and Sweitzer Lake areas.
So far, she said, "I like it." Patterson said it has been her goal for many years to join the department, and first expressed an interest in the job about five years ago.
"For me, it's more about helping people when they can't help themselves," said Patterson.