Sunday Profile: Meet the new face of parking enforcement in Glenwood Springs
After 17 years the City of Glenwood Springs passed the parking enforcement chalk on for the start of a new reign in July.
Tessa Dinkel took on the role and is quickly becoming a familiar face in downtown Glenwood. Tasked with parking enforcement for downtown’s busy streets, one is bound to run into not the most welcoming of arms.
“I haven’t had many negative interactions yet and if I have I probably just caught them on a bad day,” she said. “I try not to add to people’s bad day, I’d rather talk to them than write tickets.”
Dinkel, 19, was born and raised in Glenwood Springs. She graduated from Yampah Mountain High School in 2018 with the hopes of becoming a paramedic.
“I wanted to be a nurse since I started high school. I’ve always been interested in medicine,” Dinkel said. “Being a paramedic is fast-paced and different every day and I like that.”
Anxious to get her foot in the door, Dinkel is hopeful that working around the police department will help give her better insight on what path she will continue down later in life.
“I thought maybe trying for a job like this would be good for the resume and help me see what it’s like and see if it is something that I still wanted to pursue,” she said.
Though a Glenwood native, Dinkel is enjoying getting to better know the town and has taken advantage of the opportunity to get to know people.
“I’ve met a lot of people since starting; I’m terrible at names but I recognize them,” she said. “It’s fun because people will check up on me and ask how I am doing.”
“I’ve also gotten to know the town a lot better since I was just a regular citizen,” she said. “I really like listening to the (police) radio and being able to listen to dispatch, especially if it is something downtown that I can maybe help with.”
At only 19 there is a pretty big age gap between Dinkel and the rest of her coworkers at the police department but that doesn’t bother her.
“It’s actually fun, I have learned a lot of things,” she said. “I feel like I have fatherly and motherly type figures all around me. I have a lot of people I can go to for things, even with general life not just with work. I feel very protected.”
“It’s kind of like being raised by the police department,” Dinkel added.
Dinkel started working at local restaurants when she was 16 and said those jobs were often more stressful.
“My parents didn’t think that this was something I was going to go towards. They thought I was just going to go straight to school to be a paramedic,” she said. “I always just worked restaurant jobs.”
Dinkel has an uncle who was previously in law enforcement and her parents are undeniably proud of the steps she is taking since graduating high school a year ago.
“My parents are really proud of me, they think it’s really cool. We have some law enforcement that runs in our family. My uncle was in the FBI, he thinks that’s where this is going to take me and if it does I wouldn’t mind that,” she said.
Training for Dinkel started July 1 but she wasn’t set free to do her own thing for a couple of weeks. Though nerve-racking at first, she quickly got the hang of it.
“I just wanted to make sure I was doing it right but once I got used to walking around town and talking to people, it wasn’t as big of a deal as I thought it was going to be,” she said. “It’s actually not as stressful as restaurants.”
“She’s still learning but she’s doing a great job,” acting Glenwood Springs Police Chief Bill Kimminau said. “The weather doesn’t bother her and she seems to be enjoying getting to chat with people. She’s young, she gets out there and she is enjoying it.”
Janie Daniels who was the previous parking enforcement officer retired earlier this year after 17 years on the job.
“She wanted to retire when she hit 65,” Kimminau said.
Dinkel hopes to fill those shoes to the best of her abilities.
“It definitely will be big shoes to fill because she did it for so long,” Dinkel said. “I’ve heard she did it for 17 years which is crazy to me because I’m only 19.”
“I really love the job, I love being outside,” she said. “I look forward to being able to help the community.”
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