by Marissa Lorenz
The Kremmling Police Department welcomed its newest team member last week, Officer Kristina Costa, who arrived from Savannah, Georgia just in time for the heavy snows, an experience she kindly refers to as “a little bit extra” for someone who didn’t previously own snow boots.
Officer Costa is originally from Reston, Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C. She recalls that she knew almost all her life that she wanted to serve her community in a significant way, and she pursued a double bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech in criminal psychology and political science.
Costa spent a few years as a paramedic firefighter in Virginia and then moved to Savannah to join the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department in 2003. She has been a sworn officer for 18 years, serving within that department and the Georgia Port Authority. During that time, she had collateral assignments with hostage negotiation and explosive ordinance disposal (aka: the Bomb Squad).
Recognizing that she really enjoys training and teaching, Costa obtained her master’s degree in education and worked as an academy instructor and field training officer with the Savannah Chatham Police Department. She holds numerous instructor certifications but is an especially ardent advocate for Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT).
“CIT is a specialized area of law enforcement focused on deescalation of crisis situations, using community partnership to help individuals and families experiencing mental health crises,” Costa notes. “I would say that it is the most valuable tool I will ever have in my arsenal as a peace officer.”
Kremmling Police Chief Hiram Rivera also came to Grand County from Savannah and knew Costa there as a fellow officer, POST instructor, and crisis intervention trainer. He explains that, in his effort to find “an experienced officer with a skill set that complemented the police work we are already doing [in Kremmling], who understands my philosophy on community policing and wanted a change of environment,” he reached out to former contacts on the East Coast. That call spoke to Costa.
“Chief described Kremmling as a great town and the Department as something that could be developed into something amazing. He has a vision of a well-established partnership between the community, the police department, and other stakeholders,” explains Kremmling’s newest officer.
“I loved the idea of helping to develop something great, because that’s what we do as teachers. It’s who we are,” she continues. “We want to help grow something into its full potential. So I thought it was a really good opportunity to contribute to something greater than the individual.”
Costa applied for the job last year, but it took eight months to find the right home for herself and her family.
Officer Costa comes to Kremmling with her mother and four dogs, the furries being adopted into the family over Costa’s years as a long-time volunteer and foster provider for a no-kill animal shelter in the Savannah area.
Costa describes herself as “a huge nutrition and exercise nerd,” and expresses great excitement at having found the Middle Park Health Wellness Center. She looks forward to discovering the beautiful scenery of the area and exploring it and playing in it with her dogs. She has already started on some home improvement projects and praises Kremmling for the many resources in the small town.
“I like that there’s so much available right here in Kremmling,” Costa states. “I try to avoid big-box as much as possible and prefer to support local businesses. There are a number of amazing local businesses right here, and we have to keep money in the community.”
But Costa says that much of her time right now will be focused on learning the nuances and specifics of Colorado law and standards.
“With 18 years enforcing Georgia law, I know much of my experience will carry over to my role in Colorado. The fundamentals of policing, communication, and compassion are the same,” she observes, “but I want to be the best Kremmling police officer that I can be.”
Chief Rivera has full faith in Costa’s ability to do just that.
“An effective police department consists of diverse officers who are capable of delivering quality community policing to those we serve,” Rivera observes. “[Officer Costa] brings almost two decades of community policing and crisis intervention experience to Kremmling. We are excited to have her join our team!”
And Costa is excited to bring her skills and passion to Kremmling.
“I can’t imagine not being one of the people others call when they need help,” she says of her love for law enforcement. “I think it’s God’s calling, and it’s our role within humanity to help each other. To be able to fill that role and be paid to do it–well, it’s an amazing way to live your life.”