Kattie Neesham started work as Norwood’s new town marshal on June 21, replacing Mike Wilkerson, who left after a decade of service. Neesham, with seven years of experience, is no stranger to Norwood.
She attended the police academy in Delta in 2015, sponsored by the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office, which wanted her as a deputy. She stayed with the sheriff’s office for six years, until she left last October to take a job in Durango.
While she only worked for the Durango Police Department for less than a year, the experience was rich and diversified her experience.
She agreed working in a city was much different than working for San Miguel County. In Durango, she worked the weekend graveyard shift, from 5:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m., Thursday to Sunday each week. There, the call volume was much larger with no downtime.
“Every call you could imagine,” she told The Norwood Post, “intoxicated people, fights, trespass, domestic violence-type stuff. … We dealt with the transient or homeless community, ‘intox’ or drug-related calls.”
Neesham said the work was different, and even in the short time she worked for Durango, she felt she gained what felt like years’ worth of experience.
“You’re never supposed to be complacent in law enforcement,” she said. “I tuned-in all my skills, everything I learned with San Miguel County, I put those skills to the test on a daily basis for almost a year.”
She said working in Durango made her a better cop, and she became more experienced and ready to work as Norwood’s marshal.
“I know how this community operates,” she said. “Now, I also know how a larger community works, too, and can bring that to Norwood.”
She thinks that most people in town know her already.
“I’ve been around for some time, as law enforcement, they know how I operate,” she said. “So far I’ve gotten nothing but praise, and people are so happy that I am here. I want to do good things here and make this community better and stronger.”
Neesham is used to working with local agencies. Last year, the San Miguel Resource Center named her “Officer of the Year.”
“I have a strong relationship with them, and hope to continue with that,” she said.
She also works sometimes with The Center for Mental Health, for crises moments and incidents that involve mental illness.
And, of course, she’s working closely with San Miguel County now. Sheriff’s deputies are her backup until she hires a deputy marshal.
“They’ve been nothing but amazing supporting me on this journey,” she said.
The state patrol has also been supportive as she settles in.
Neesham said for now she has much organizational work to do, and it will be “a little while” before a deputy marshal is hired. She said she will help interview for that position, and a collective decision with Norwood’s town staff and trustees will be made to choose the right candidate.
Town administrator Patti Grafmyer said she and town trustees are “extremely happy” Neesham joined the team.
“With all the ideas that she has and soon will be introducing, I am excited to see the new levels of excellence that Kattie will take the Norwood Marshal’s Department to,” Grafmyer said. “It is refreshing to see all the support for Kattie as chief marshal that has been demonstrated by individuals, businesses and other departments.”