Friday Flashback: Commander Rita Warfield
Commander Rita Warfield has been part of the Durango Police family since 1995.
For this Friday Flashback, we asked Commander Warfield the following questions:
What year was the "then" pic taken? "Let’s just say it was before many of the officers here were born, my junior year prom."
Where and when did you graduate high school? "Delta High, again, a long time ago…"
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your high school aged self? "Explore more options for careers than you might have in a small town, the world is full of options. I didn’t even realize that being a peace officer was doable for me."
What made you decide on a career in Law Enforcement? "I always admired officers and wanted a job that had challenge, independent thinking and was unique. I had friends who were victims of domestic violence and sex assault and I felt helpless; I wanted to help them and other women who perhaps couldn’t help themselves."
What is your proudest moment at the PD? "Being promoted to Detective Sergeant in 2006 and then being promoted to Commander in 2017 and having my daughters be there. Solving some very complex cases and finding justice for the victims."
What have you found most challenging in your work life? "Never enough time to do it all and often times having to arrest repeat offenders over and over again."
How do you balance your career and family? "It’s hard. Police work keeps us all very busy. In the position I am in now, it seems there aren’t enough hours to get everything done and I hate leaving work with work undone."
What advice do you have for females thinking about starting a career in law enforcement? "Go for it!! If you are willing to sacrifice some time with family and have the energy and ethics we need in this career, then you might be the perfect fit. We ladies make a big difference and have the same skills as men and some unique skills that make us great officers."
Do you recall any embarrassing moment at work? "Yes quite a few actually. One was at a traffic crash on 32nd in a very heavy snow and ice storm. I was out on the street attending to one of the crash vehicles and it was so slick I fell and slid all the way down to the bridge (a half block). I couldn’t stop and luckily the other cars couldn’t move either but they were all laughing at me."
If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be? "A secret agent, in another country."
If you were stuck on an island what three things would you bring? "Sunscreen, a friend and rum (to go with the coconut and pineapple juice on the island)."
What one food do you wish had zero calories? "Pasta."
What are three career lessons you’ve learned thus far? "Only 3? Don’t be afraid of making mistakes (learn from them); it’s okay to admit you’re afraid, just don’t give up; fight for what you believe in and for what is right."
What does true leadership mean to you? "Being a part of a team and being a leader among equals, but willing to let that person who knows what to do better than you, take the lead when necessary. Relishing in the success of your team."
Great answers, Commander Warfield! Thanks for being a role model for many women in law enforcement and thank you for your years of service to our community and to our department.