Debra Funston


Palisade Police Chief Debra Funston is looking to continue her long law-enforcement career farther upstream on the Colorado River, in the city of Rifle.

Funston has been named as one of three finalists to be the next police chief in Rifle. The finalists were announced by the previous chief, Tommy Klein, who is now Rifle’s city manager.

“I would be honored to represent the city of Rifle as their new police chief, but I also enjoy my career and my position that I have here in Palisade,” Funston said Monday. “I’m just viewing this as an opportunity — nothing contentious about it, just an opportunity for me.”

Funston and the other finalists are to meet with the community at a reception Friday evening in Rifle, according to a legal notice in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. They also will be interviewed by Rifle City Council and the city’s executive staff.

Other candidates are:

n Adam Cataffo, who has 24 years of experience in law enforcement in Colorado and six years of experience in youth crisis counseling. He began as a Rifle patrol officer and spent 20 years with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, working in roles including lieutenant, watch commander, sergeant and deputy sheriff.

n Michael Drake, who has worked in law enforcement for 25 years, is a major in the Professional Standards Division with New York State Police.

He has worked for New York State Police in trooper commander, captain, lieutenant, investigator, sergeant and trooper roles. He previously was a firefighter/emergency medical technician in Highland, New York.

Funston has worked 33 years in law enforcement.

Born and raised in Montrose, she started as a patrol officer in Hampton, Virginia, before returning to Montrose to work at the police department there for 11 years in a variety of roles, among them field training officer, detective division supervisor and patrol division supervisor.

She worked for a decade in the Steamboat Springs Police Department in capacities such as school resource officer and public information officer.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of opportunities to do a lot of different things,” she said.

Funston has spent the past decade in Palisade, where she was hired to be the town’s first detective and became chief in 2015.

“I am native to the Western Slope and have always felt like it was an honor to be able to serve on the Western Slope and serve in communities that I’m very familiar with,” Funston said.