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Rifle offers Palisade’s top cop the position of police chief

Rifle Police Chief Candidate Debra Funston introduces herself to residents during a candidate forum on Friday at the Ute Theater and Events Center. Funston currently serves as the chief of police in Palisade. Ike Fredregill

The Rifle Police Department could soon be home to Garfield County’s first female police chief, a press release said.

Debra Funston is currently Chief of Police for the Palisade Police Department and was one of three finalists in Rifle’s search for a chief to replace Tommy Klein when he takes up his new role as Rifle City Manager.

Funston, a native of Colorado with 33 years law enforcement experience, was offered the position on Friday.

“I’ve been here for over 50 years and, to my knowledge, we’ve never had a female police chief,” said Garfield County Commissioner and former police officer John Martin.

Funston’s appointment is pending approval from the Rifle City Council, and the council is due to consider the decision during its regular November 3rd session, a press release said.

“We were fortunate to have several highly qualified applicants for the position of chief,” Klein said in the statement. “The evaluation process for the position was extensive and it took into account feedback from Rifle citizens, members of the police force, local business people and our nonprofit partners.”

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