Deborah Mynatt moved to Colorado Springs as a 13-year-old Army brat. The El Paso County Sheriff’s sergeant hopped around from school to school before settling at and graduating from Sierra High School.

Today, Mynatt heads the office’s community relations and outreach unit.

For instance, the sergeant oversees the office’s Citizens Academy, taught in Spanish, which began in 2016.

“This is an eight-week class one night a week and we teach you about different sections and what they do. One night we’ll talk about emergency services, what their vehicles look like. … Another night you might be at CSPD learning about their tactical unit. Another night you’ll be over here learning about investigations.

“We’re trying to include them. Some groups we met with showed concern that immigration will be there to arrest them. The problem with that is, if they’re a victim or a witness to a crime, they won’t report it. We don’t want that barrier and want them to know we won’t do that.”

Another important aspect of Mynatt’s position is youth outreach.

“Recently we signed [a memorandum of understanding] … with Big Brothers Big Sisters called “Bigs with Badges.” We have 18 people (originally we thought we’d get seven or eight) willing to donate their time to these kids. That will build better relationships than me going to do a talk on safety in a classroom.”

Mynatt also created and teaches a women’s leadership development class.

“It’s a course based on lifting others up, motivating others and giving compliments,” she said. “That’s sometimes an issue with women in law enforcement. You have to be so tough, equally as tough as the guys.

“Then what happens is they become hardened to selves and other females. It’s good to embrace women in uniform, tell them they’re doing a great job and lift them up.”

So what does it mean for the sergeant to be named a Rising Star?

“I’m super honored,” she said. “The lady who nominated me [Elizabeth Kirkman] is probably one of the top five women I look up to. She was our county attorney assigned to the sheriff’s office. … Any time there was a concern I would reach out to her and be so comfortable about it.

“For a person like that to nominate me feels immense. I asked her what I did that was so great. She said I absolutely earned this and said I’ve really inspired her. Wow! You don’t know until someone tells you. It’s a big deal and an honor. I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was until I started doing some research myself. This Rising Stars thing is a big deal!”

What makes Colorado Springs home?

“No. 1, it’s beautiful. The other thing is this community loves law enforcement. Being in a city surrounded by the military, they appreciate those in uniform.”