Moments after making history at the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, Laurie Halaba hugged her daughter and wiped away tears.
She had just been sworn in as the agency’s newest bureau chief, becoming the first woman to ever hold the position at the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” Halaba said following the Jan. 24 ceremony.
“When I started 23 years ago, if you would’ve told me that I would be the first female bureau chief, I would’ve laughed.”
As bureau chief, Halaba will command the Public Safety Bureau, which encompasses the patrol operations, special operations and investigation services, the sheriff’s office said in a statement. She will also oversee the law enforcement contract for the City of Centennial.
The previous bureau chief, Glenn Thompson, recently retired. Sheriff Tyler Brown said Halaba was on the radar for the position “probably from about week one that I was here at the sheriff's office.”
“Laurie is a consummate professional when it comes to (being) a member of command staff. She has been an example for so many, and she's the right person for this position,” Brown said.
“On top of that, she is also the first female member of our command staff, and in the 165 year history of our agency, she'll be the first female bureau chief,” he added, prompting cheers and applause.
Halaba has worked in every segment of the sheriff’s office, Brown said.
She started working with the agency in 1999 as a deputy in the detention facility, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.
In 2001, she became a patrol deputy. After three years, she took on the role of a school resource officer. By 2006, she returned to working as a patrol deputy for another three years, per the statement.
A decade after her law enforcement career began, in 2009, Halaba was promoted to sergeant, according to the statement. As a sergeant, she worked in the detention bureau, patrol division and the office of professional standards.
Halaba continued to move up the ranks in 2012 when she was promoted to lieutenant, and she worked as a watch commander on patrol, the sheriff’s office said in the statement.
Then, in 2014, she made history for the first time at Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office when she was appointed as the agency’s first female captain. Halaba oversaw the detention administrative section for six years.
In 2020, she became the agency’s Captain of Patrol Operations, a position she held until being sworn in as bureau chief.
“I know you’ve been an inspiration for so many here at the sheriff's office and so many young women across the state in law enforcement,” Brown said before swearing Halaba in.
Women make up less than 13% of total law enforcement officers and “a much smaller proportion of leadership positions,” according to a 2019 National Institute of Justice report.
“I can’t say that it didn’t have its challenges, because it did. Being a woman, a female, in this type of work where predominantly it’s all males, it can be challenging at times,” Halaba said. “But it also is very rewarding. I work with great people, and I always have, that supported me.”
Her advice to women interested in a career in law enforcement is to find a woman in the field they can talk to about the job.
“They’ll tell you everything that we go through. And, you know, sometimes being a mom and a cop can be challenging … finding that balance,” Halaba said.
Halaba has a 24-year-old daughter, Elisabeth Pevler, and 16-year-old son, Tyler Riedmuller. They both beamed with pride during the swearing-in ceremony.
“We’re just very proud of her and her long career,” Pevler said. “Definitely an inspiration, obviously — and hopefully being a leader myself, someday, like her.”
Following in her mom’s footsteps, Pevler is a deputy at the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. She said she wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement for the same reason as her mom — to help others and make the agency and county a better place.
Halaba’s passion has also inspired her son who has joined the Explorer program at the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, which is an educational program for young people who want to learn more about a career in law enforcement.
“She brought me to all the events when I was growing up, and it made a huge influence on me,” Riedmuller said, explaining he wants to work at the sheriff’s office in the future.
Halaba’s husband, Robert Losciale, added, “She definitely supported me when I wanted to make a change in careers almost six years ago.”
Losciale is a deputy with the Denver Sheriff Department.
“It has taught me a lot seeing her work and … her work ethic and how she handles her people as a leader — has definitely made me a better deputy with Denver and a better leader,” Losciale said.
Reflecting on the progression of her career, Halaba said she wanted to make things better for the people she works with.
“I love this job — that’s why I’ve stayed here for almost 23 years,” she said. “I think for us females in this type of work that, you know, we’re powering through this male-dominated industry and we’re slowly getting more and more.
“But just keep powering through,” she added. “The sky’s the limit.”