Meet the newest police officers at the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and Vail Police Department |

Meet the newest police officers at the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and Vail Police Department

Thomas Hayes is one of eight new law enforcement officers the Vail Police Department welcomed in 2022.
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Despite nationwide recruitment challenges pervasive in law enforcement, local agencies have welcomed several new officers throughout 2022. At the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and Vail Police Department, recent recruits are getting situated in their new roles and among them, some newcomers are getting situated in the valley.

Per fall 2022 law enforcement academies’ graduations, many newly sanctioned police officers are recently entering the ranks of local law enforcement agencies. Whether new to the valley or familiar with Eagle County, officers have vowed to keep those within the community safe. 

Whether they’re spotted in uniform or while doing their grocery shopping, new faces of law enforcement introduced themselves so community members can get to know them. 

At the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, three new officers include Zach Miller, Tyree Allen and Damien Stewart. 

Zach Miller

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Officer Zach Miller said it is rewarding to know he has the chance to impact others’ lives with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
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Zach Miller is 30 years old and grew up in Fairplay, Colorado. Coming from a seven-generation Colorado family, Miller explained that his love of outdoor recreation will be well-served in the valley. 

“I love fly fishing, hunting and anything that has to do with the outdoors,” Miller said.

Miller said he got into law enforcement to not only serve his community, but also support and better his family, consisting of his wife and 1-year-old boy. 

While he said the most challenging aspect of the job is working extended hours away from his family, Miller said the importance of his work makes it meaningful. 

“It’s rewarding to know that I have a chance to make a difference and impact the lives of the residents of Eagle County,” Miller said. 

New to the sheriff’s office, Miller said his first impressions of the agency were positive, starting his law enforcement career on the right foot. 

“The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office has a lot of great people,” Miller said. “Everyone helps others to succeed and has each other’s back. We are all part of a team. I am excited to start this new chapter of my life with Eagle County.”

Tyree Allen

Tyree Allen is a 25-year-old officer who was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. The ex-track and field athlete explained that it took some moving around before planting roots in Colorado. After graduating from high school, Allen attended McKendree University in southern Illinois on a scholarship. He said he graduated with a bachelor’s in sociology with an emphasis in criminal justice and a minor in forensic studies. 

“After graduating, I stayed in the south for about a year while trying to launch my law enforcement career,” Allen said. “Unfortunately, many places were not hiring or were looking for someone who was POST-certified already.”

Though, with a little determination, Allen said he continued his job search among security agencies, including TSA. Allen said he was offered a position with TSA in Aspen, should he be willing to relocate to Colorado. 

“I moved my entire life from the south and from Chicago all the way to the beautiful mountains,” Allen said. “At the time, it was just me, but it was the best decision I ever made. I spent about two years with TSA when I wanted to try my footing in law enforcement once again and luckily Eagle County Sheriff’s Office was hiring and the rest is history.”

Allen said since early adolescence, going into law enforcement had always been a sort of dream or goal he had for himself. However, Allen said his interest in the field wasn’t piqued by inspiration from witnessing positive policing, but rather the opposite. 

“If anything, growing up in Chicago, we did not have many police officers that were kind to us,” Allen said. “With violence all over the place, I wanted to be a part of a change and have people not be afraid of law enforcement.”

When he was sworn into the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Allen said it was most rewarding to have his family there witness his goals come into fruition. 

While Allen engages with the community through his career at the sheriff’s office, he said another arena he would love to engage with neighbors in is on the track. 

“I have run track and field for so long that if anyone wants to have a foot race, just pick a time and location and I’ll do my best to be there,” Allen said. 

Damien Stewart

Damien Stewart, 22 years old, grew up in Glenwood Springs. The Glenwood High School graduate then went to Concordia University in Nebraska, where he graduated in May with degrees in criminal justice and behavioral science. 

“Ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted to get into law enforcement to help others, which stuck with me through my education and helped me achieve my goals,” Stewart said. 

Stewart said that while having to learn and retain magnitudes of law-enforcement-related information in a short time span was challenging, being able to achieve his lifelong goal made the work involved in becoming a police officer worth it. 

Ready to start making a difference, Stewart said he is glad to be on board with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. 

“It is a hard and rewarding job,” Stewart said. “The sheriff’s office is a very well-put-together team that works effectively to serve the public.”

Vail Police Department

In 2022, the Vail Police Department welcomed eight new law enforcement officers to the agency: Thomas Hayes, Flynt Rudolph, Maria Rodas, Adam Bloom, Tiffany Fortune, Robert Genno, Hannah Kennedy and Harrison Breen.

Thomas Hayes

Hailing from Greenville, South Carolina, 41-year-old Thomas Hayes said he joined the Marine Corps right out of high school. There, Hayes served in security forces and in the infantry. 

“After four years of honorable service, my wife and I moved back to South Carolina where I started my career in law enforcement with the South Carolina Highway Patrol,” Hayes said. 

After five years of service under South Carolina Highway Patrol, Hayes said his family relocated again, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, before going back to South Carolina eight years later. In the town of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Hayes said he got back into law enforcement under the Mount Pleasant Police Department as a school resource officer.

Hayes said that after spending time vacationing in the Vail Valley and researching the Vail Police Department, he and his family knew Vail Police Department and the area would be a “perfect fit.”

“In my off time, I enjoy spending time with my family going skiing, hiking, camping and traveling,” Hayes said. “My family and I are very excited to call Vail home and get to know the community.”

Hayes career in law enforcement was a long time coming, he explained. 

“From a young age, I was interested in law enforcement and wanted to become a police officer,” Hayes said. “I also enjoy helping people and serving the community and keeping people safe.”

While initially becoming a police officer had its challenges, like being away from family at the police academy and passing required tests, Hayes said the job is also highly rewarding.

“The most rewarding part of being a police officer is serving the community and helping people,” Hayes said. “As a school resource officer, I got the opportunity to interact with the students and faculty and was able to be a mentor to the students.”

Flynt Rudolph

Flynt Rudolph, 37 years old, is also originally from North Carolina, coming out of Charlotte. After graduating from the University of Mississippi in 2008, Rudolph enlisted in the Navy. 

“I spent a number of years in Naval Special Operations, primarily stationed in Virginia and later working in the intelligence community in Washington, D.C.,” Rudolph said. 

Rudolph said he was motivated to go into law enforcement because he wanted to serve the community and “be part of a larger team” working for the greater good of those around him.

“(It is rewarding to serve) the town of Vail and working among a team of similarly motivated individuals to preserve and protect the aspects which make this community so special,” Rudolph said. 

Among others working at the Vail Police Department, Rudolph said he was initially impressed by the leadership team at the Vail Police Department, including Commander Justin Liffick, Commander Ryan Kenney and Chief Dwight Henninger. 

“During the interview process, it became clear to me that the town of Vail Police Department had the type of leadership that cared deeply about putting their people in positions to succeed,” Rudolph said. “I haven’t been disappointed.”

Hoping to make meaningful connections day-to-day, Rudolph said he looks forward to his career with the Vail Police Department.

Maria Rodas

Originally from Guatemala City, Guatemala, Maria Rodas moved to the United States as a teenager, finishing up her adolescence in Chicago. 

Rodas said she joined the U.S. Army Reserves while in high school, completing a total of eight years of service. 

About three years ago, Rodas said she moved to Vail from Chicago. 

Rodas was introduced to the Vail Police Department when she started working there as an administrative services technician. After transferring to the department’s code enforcement team, Rodas said she attended the Colorado Law Enforcement Academy, where she recently graduated.

“When I first came to the Vail Police Department, I saw the level of professionalism and integrity my fellow officers carried themselves with while being dispatch to an immense variety of calls, and I knew that I wanted to be part of a team that was able to carry themselves in that way,” Rodas said.

Rodas said she had come from a military family, which ultimately inspired her to go into law enforcement.

“A family value that was always instilled in me was selfless service,” Rodas said. “Throughout the years, I have been able to personally witness how vitally true and effective policing can be for the communities we serve.”

Similar to other police officers new to the valley, Rodas said the most challenging aspect of the job is not only the amount of information one has to learn in the academy, but throughout the entirety of the career. 

“Law enforcement is a type of career where you must constantly work on bettering your understanding of the law, procedures and learning from past experiences to become the best officer you can be for the community you serve,” Rodas said. 

Looking forward to her law enforcement career at the Vail Police Department, Rodas said she enjoys getting to know everyone in the community and welcomes anyone to approach her should they need anything.

Adam Bloom

Adam Bloom said it is gratifying to help people within the community especially on their worst days when they need it most.

Adam Bloom, 31 years old, is from Tampa, Florida. Bloom entered his career in law enforcement as a former Marine. 

“I wanted to give back to my community,” Bloom said. 

While he said becoming a law enforcement officer involved adjusting to a variety of colleagues with different backgrounds, thoughts, personalities and approaches to accomplishing the same goal can be challenging, the community service aspect of the job makes it gratifying.

“(It is rewarding to) help someone on their worst day and help make that positive impact on them and the community,” Bloom said. 

For such a small town, Bloom said the Vail Police Department is very busy, which also makes the work Vail Police Department does meaningful.

Tiffany Fortune

Tiffany Fortune said being raised by parents who were in the Army helped inspire her serve others and eventually go into law enforcement.

Tiffany Fortune, 29 years old, is from Clarksville, Tennessee, but she said with parents who were active duty Army, she grew up living in multiple states. 

“When I became of age, I followed in their footsteps and joined the Army National Guard in 2012 as a Military Police Officer, and I am still serving in the National Guard today,” Fortune said.

Fortune is married and has two dachshund puppies. Outside of work, she said she enjoys rock climbing and going to the range. 

Fortune said she has a passion for helping others and serving her community and country, which she said also inspired her going into law enforcement. 

“The most rewarding aspect of becoming a police officer is having the ability to help others and make a difference,” Fortune said.

The job is incredibly exciting, Fortune said, and thus far, she said she observed that one’s successes are a direct reflection of the work they put in. 

Robert Genno

Robert Genno, 30 years old, is originally from Orillia, a small town in Ontario, Canada. When he was 18, Genno moved to Harrogate, Tennessee, to play golf at Lincoln Memorial University. Upon graduating from the university, Genno said he was hired as the assistant men’s golf coach at Lincoln Memorial University, where he worked for four years. 

“During this time, I joined a local volunteer fire department and worked alongside law enforcement officers,” Genno said. “This is when I initially became interested in possibly pursuing a career in law enforcement. However, different opportunities arose which led me to careers in finance, construction management and sales.”

Though, in late 2021, Genno said when his wife received a job offer from the Steadman Clinic in Vail, he saw the relocation as a chance to enter the law enforcement field.

“I decided this was a great opportunity to dive into a career that I had thought about for many years,” Genno said. 

In January, Genno said he applied to the Vail Police Department.

“Thankfully, Sargent Botkins reached out quickly and assisted with a smooth transition into the law enforcement industry,” Genno said. “I began the Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy at Colorado Mountain College in May.”

Switching careers at 30 and learning new information such as Vail Municipal Code, Colorado State laws, federal laws, Vail Police Department Policy and Procedures and officer safety and tactics was challenging for Genno. 

However, he said getting to genuinely help others within the community, often on their worst days, makes the job rewarding. 

“We sometimes are the first individuals that people see after a traumatic experience and need to maintain composure and professionalism,” Genno said. “To be able to be that stabilized figure to someone is incredibly important to me and something I take very seriously.”

After living in the valley for eight months and starting work at the Vail Police Department, Genno said he couldn’t be happier and is excited to grow with the community and do his part to make it a better place for everyone to be.

“Our goal is to treat everyone with dignity and respect and hopefully leave every encounter with people thinking better of those who work in law enforcement,” Genno said.

Hannah Kennedy

Hannah Kennedy said transitioning from the health and fitness field into law enforcement has been difficult, however she said it is rewarding knowing she is helping to make Vail a better place.
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For the past nine years, 26-year-old Hannah Kennedy was in the health and fitness field. Kennedy, from upstate New York, opened her own personal training and injury rehab and prevention studio in Charleston, South Carolina. 

Making the career transition to law enforcement, Kennedy said she had always been interested in helping her community.

“Up until now, that has always been through making it a healthier and more active place, but law enforcement is something I have wanted since I was a kid,” Kennedy said. “I am so happy to have a wife that backs and encourages me in that path now.”

Beginning her career in law enforcement with the Vail Police Department, Kennedy said she is impressed with the department’s initiative for active and not solely reactive policing. She said she enjoys knowing that she is taking part to make Vail a better and safer place. 

Harrison Breen

Harrison Breen said growing up, he always knew he wanted to help people but his internship with a campus police department helped him realize law enforcement was the right path for him.
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Originally from the U.K., 23-year-old Harrison Breen grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, when his family moved to America after his father got a job as a professor at North Carolina State University. Breen said he grew up playing basketball and has been playing guitar and bass since he was 10. 

When he went to college at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Breen said he graduated with a degree in peace and conflict. In April, Breen relocated to Colorado to work for the Vail Police Department. 

“Growing up, I wanted to choose a career that would serve the public,” Breen said. “At one point, it was fire, then EMS, then military, then police.”

To dip his toes into the field of law enforcement, Breen said he got an internship with a campus police department at one of the local colleges in Raleigh. 

“After getting to know the officers and staff there, I made the decision that police was the right fit for me.”

Breen applied to Vail Police Department’s academy sponsorship and then attended Colorado Mountain College Breckenridge Academy from May through August. 

While there are many challenges that come with the training process for becoming a police officer, Breen said trainers helped him understand mistakes he made and gave him tools to succeed in completing the program and starting patrol. 

“The relationships I’ve established with several local individuals, as well as my coworkers, has become a rewarding part of the job,” Breen said. “Walking through Vail Village and having people walk up to me and simply ask how my day is going, striking up a quick conversation, feels great as an officer. I definitely feel like Vail Police Department has a great relationship with the public.”

While the job is difficult, Breen said he enjoys having something different in store each shift and the support of command staff and sergeants. 

“I plan to make Eagle County my home for many years,” Breen said. “I hope to meet many of the residents here and get to know them. Locals should feel comfortable around me and know that I have the public’s best interest at heart. I’m on the younger side, so I hope to grow with Vail over the coming years.”

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