Rifle Police sergeant departs, continues social media outreach

Rifle Police Sgt. Carlos Cornejo stands in from of the Rifle Police Department during his last day on watch on Thursday.
Taylor Cramer/Post Independent

After serving the town of Rifle for 12 years, six of those as a sergeant, Rifle Police Sgt. Carlos Cornejo is hanging up his uniform. But his commitment to the community remains as strong as ever.

A native of Guerrero, Mexico, Cornejo and his family made Rifle their home in 1998. He has since become a recognizable figure, not only on the streets of Rifle but also on social media.

“During the beginning of the pandemic, I was seeing these posts throughout different community groups saying that people were being arrested for being outside,” Cornejo said. “I asked permission to interact with those groups as a person more so than as a department and dispel those rumors.”

Since those initial interactions in April 2020, Cornejo’s online presence exploded. With more than 5 million followers across platforms like TikTok and Facebook, his social media prowess is undeniable.

“It started to really grow and I figured, while I’m in this position, why don’t I start to educate people about their rights and their responsibilities as a citizen,” Cornejo said.

The numbers speak for themselves: 187,000 followers on Instagram (@carloscornejov), 1.9 million on TikTok (@sargentocarloscornejo), 251,000 subscribers on YouTube (@sargentocornejo), and 2.9 million on Facebook. However, his Facebook account was deactivated Wednesday at the request of the Rifle Police Department.

Informing the latin community of public safety tips, Cornejo also uses his platform to play the guitar, a hobby he has partaken in since he was a child. The popular media influencer said he will continue to pursue using music as a platform.

“I love music,” Cornejo said. “I have talked to a couple Latin bands and we are going to do some collaboration to further engage with the community.”

Even as he departs the police department, Cornejo is not leaving Rifle. His vast platform allows him the unique opportunity to travel and speak to Spanish-speaking communities about safety nationwide. While Cornejo has chosen to keep specific details under wraps, he did mention discussions with an organization about potential conferences.

“This has been a very important part of my life that has taught me so many life lessons and given me a second family,” Cornejo reminisced about his time at the department. “I was doing the math the other day and I have worn this uniform for over 27,000 hours, but every one of those I have been very proud to be able to serve and be a part of this community.”

His future plans also include continued involvement in the Rifle community. Conversations are already underway with various organizations across the Western Slope and Colorado on how he can best leverage his platform for the greater good.

Breaking language barriers and aiding in successful integration into diverse communities has always been a passion for Cornejo, especially when addressing public safety and rules.

As for his ever-growing social media base? 

“I’m going to continue to share information,” Cornejo asserted. “I won’t be sharing it from a patrol car anymore, but it’s important to share this information with the community.”

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