MONTE VISTA— Since a very young age Brandon Stevens has dreamt of becoming a police officer. Longtime residents of Monte Vista likely have a vivid memory of the little boy who would patrol the Lariat neighborhood on a bike, dressed up as an officer and hand out fake tickets to wrong doers. On the night of Thursday, June 6, Stevens’ dream came true, as he officially took the oath of office at a meeting of the Monte Vista City Council and became the newest member of the Monte Vista Police Department.
Stevens’ future wasn’t always so certain, however. One day as a child, around eight years old, when he was out on “patrol” Stevens was struck by a driver and was dragged under her car for some feet. Amazingly, Stevens didn’t have a whole lot of severe bodily injury, such as spinal cord damage as might be expected after such an accident. “The EMTs thought that it was all the equipment (his pretend police uniform) that really saved him. They did find traumatic brain injury, but through lots of therapy and prayer, we got him to where he needed to be for today. We were really thankful to the Monte Vista Police, Monte Vista Fire Department and Monte Vista Ambulance service for their help in the situation,” said his mother Rosemary Salvio.
It was this event that really triggered and cemented Stevens’ future. After this, members of the Monte Vista Police Department, especially former MVPD officer and current corporal for the Alamosa Police Department Ivan Garcia, took Stevens under their wing and mentored him into the accomplished young man he has become. “What I remember most is when he was run over he didn’t cry. Here he was after being hit by a car, and his biggest concern was his toy radio, utility belt and bike. The police department found an old utility belt that wasn’t being used and we gave it to him. The Monte Vista Ambulance Service banded together and bought him a brand new bike,” said Garcia.
Stevens then began to grow up like any other normal boy. There were times he had difficulty in school or had a hard time being motivated to do his homework. “I would encourage him, and we would have the chief at that time (Jimmy Gallegos) speak to him,” said Garcia. “We would sit down and tell him if he wanted to be an officer he needed to keep his grades up, and everything he needed to do to make his dream become a reality.”
Stevens took their words to heart. “I always made sure to keep a clean record. Ivan Garcia is really a father figure to me. He helped me a lot and made sure I was doing what I was supposed to. He and the department really took me under their wings,” said Stevens.
Stevens said that his desire to become a cop probably also came from seeing his grandmother (who has since passed), who along with his mother are his number one supporters, make people’s lives better by being in the nursing profession. “I just really want to help people,” he said.
“I am immensely proud of the young man he has become. We always tell him that his grandmother is very proud of him too,” said Salvio.
Sure to continue making an impression on the community of Monte Vista, Stevens already has much support and has made a positive difference on some lives. Salvio remembers that one day she received a call from a mother who wanted to thank her for Stevens’ actions. “Her son had been smoking and hiding behind the house to do so. Well, one day along comes little Brandon Stevens on his bike and issues him a fake citation for smoking. She said she was grateful because that prevented her son from continuing to develop a smoking habit,” she amusingly recalled.
As Stevens continued to grow he was not only seen on his bike, but soon was assisting the police department or other first responders in some way. “It really got to the point where he was a part of the force. He would help with parade line-up for Stampede and participated in inspection. He was with us just about every day after school,” said Garcia.
Soon it was time for Stevens to decide what he wanted to do with his adult life and of course he chose to attend the Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy (CLETA) at Trinidad State Junior College. “It was a good experience. I had the opportunity to meet lots of guys with different backgrounds who come from all walks of life. I learned a lot, got pepper sprayed and all the traditions including getting tased by members of the department I was going to work at (MVPD),” said Stevens.
Garcia continued his mentorship of Stevens, as it just so happens that he is one of the CLETA instructors. “I got to see him actually become an officer,” he said.
Garcia pinned Stevens’ new MVPD badge on him Thursday night. Equally impressed was Monte Vista Mayor Pro Tem Victor Sigala who also grew up in the Lariat Neighborhood and has fond memories of Brandon patrolling the area on his bike. “Brandon and I come from the same neighborhood. I watched him grow up from being a little police officer and dressing up every day of the week. I think it’s awesome to see other people’s dreams come true.”
Stevens is excited to be an officially sworn-in member of the Monte Vista Police Department. He has plans to continue in the profession and to develop as an officer. He is interested in some day perhaps being a member of a DUI task force and helping take drunk drivers off the road making it safer for all motorists.
Stevens was also one of the first MVPD officers to participate in an internship program. “This was really a hyped-up ride along. The officers did the work, but I got to see and learn a lot more,” said Stevens.
Stevens’ mentor Ivan Garcia summed it up best. “What’s awesome is that Brandon has been seen by the community all of his life. They remember him on his bike and now here he is in an actual Monte Vista Police Department car. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. He has always been one of us.”