A new trooper joined the northwest Colorado State Patrol this week, making her the first female trooper in the region in several years, Trooper Brett Hilling said.
Melissa Remner, 21, donned badge and hat Monday for her first week of duty as a Colorado State Patrol trooper for District Four, which includes Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties.
Originally from Golden, Remner attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and received degrees in Russian and sociology with an emphasis in criminology. She applied to the Colorado State Patrol Academy 1 1/2 years ago and was accepted in November.
"I've always had an interest in law enforcement, and the state patrol is the best agency in my eye because they really make a difference in highway safety," Remner said.
Troopers especially can help young people, she said, because car accidents are the leading cause of death for people younger than 25.
Remner entered the academy in January and graduated June 11. Throughout the 22-week training, cadets awoke at 5:30 a.m. for physical training, had classes from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and practiced driving and shooting.
"For the first 10 weeks, we couldn't talk at meals or in the hallways, so that we would learn composure and discipline," Remner said.
"Also, when we were walking down the halls, we had to look straight ahead and couldn't look side to side in order to enhance our peripheral vision," she said.
Her greatest challenge in the academy, however, was not the textbooks, the training or the rules.
"Overcoming my shyness was the hardest part. I'm kind of an introvert," Remner said.
During the middle of the training, cadets selected where they would like to work and were given preference according to their class rank. Remner, who at that time was ranked first in the class academically, chose Steamboat Springs.
"It's such a beautiful place here, and everyone is really friendly. What could be better?" she asked.