Paula Balafas is a 24-year law enforcement veteran, currently employed as a sergeant by the Cherry Hills Village Police Department in Colorado.
Paula's career in law enforcement began with the Denver Sheriff's Department in 1989, where she worked as a deputy sheriff. Paula was hired by the Wheat Ridge Police Department as a patrol officer in 1993. She worked patrol from 1993-1999, serving as a Field Training Officer from 1995-1999. Paula became a detective in 1999, working first Property Crimes and then Crimes Against Persons.
It was in 2000 when Paula was invited to attend her first NAWLEE conference, at the behest of a female division chief from Denver PD. It was in Madison, Wisconsin that Paula discovered the magic of NAWLEE, and she was hooked. The training provided at that conference helped make Paula a competitive candidate for her first promotional process just a few months later.
Paula was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2001, the first female promoted in the history of her department. She returned to the patrol bureau as a sergeant from 2001-2005.
In 2005 Paula became the Patrol Administrative Sergeant, supervising the Crime Prevention Team, the Telephone Reporting Unit, and School Resource Officers. Paula did the research and development for the Citizen Police Academy, Telephone Reporting Unit, a summer youth academy called Street Smarts, and she re-instituted the Wheat Ridge Police Department's Neighborhood Watch, Walk and Watch, and Senior Safety programs.
Paula returned to the Patrol Operations Division in 2009. Collateral assignments during her career have included supervising the liquor enforcement team, serving as a firearms instructor, coordinating the Field Training Program, and acting as the department liaison to the Wheat Ridge Liquor Aurity.
Paula holds both a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder.