Tribal member, Baker joins SUPD

Ciara Baker smiles in celebration of her achievements and is surrounded by supporters after completing the rigorous police training in Artesia, N.M. (Pictured Left to Right) Representing the Southern Ute Council, Councilman Tyson Thompson, Chief Coriz Jr., Ida Baker (mother), Ciara Baker, John Baker Jr. (father) and field training officer Ferlando Fonseca.
Ciara Baker is embraced by her father, John Baker Jr. after graduating from the Indian Police Academy on July 11 in Artesia, N.M.
SUPD Officer Ciara Baker gets sworn in, Tuesday, July 18, by Judge Paul Whistler in Tribal Court.
Newly sworn in, Southern Ute Police Department Officer Ciara Baker and Southern Ute Police Chief Ray Coriz Jr.,
Tyson Thompson | SU Tribal Council
Tyson Thompson | SU Tribal Council
Cloe Seibel | SU Drum
Cloe Seibel | SU Drum

Officer Ciara Baker makes her introduction to the Southern Ute Tribal Council Tuesday, July 18, alongside Chief of Police, Raymond N. Coriz Jr.

Coriz started by introducing SUPD’s newest asset to their team, Ciara Baker, who will be one of the three tribal member officers on the force. “Baker is smart and driven by her goals and education. She is well-spoken, comfortable and mature for her position,” Coriz said. Baker is the only female tribal member officer currently on the force, the first in many years since Amber Garcia in 2004.

Southern Ute Tribal Council gave advice and voiced their congratulations to Officer Baker.

“This achievement shows the drive you have to go through the training and that you take pride in yourself to not quit … its important to know and treat the membership with the highest respect because it reflects on you” Southern Ute Vice Chairman Alex S. Cloud said.

Baker gives her thanks to the Council for their support. She expressed her excitement to get involved and become a role model within the community, in addition to having the opportunity to work with the community.

“Being a police officer you are promoting the Police Department and it’s vital to create a relationship with the tribal members and community and to step forward to protect the reservation,” Southern Ute Chairman Clement J. Frost said.

Baker completed a 16 week Police Officer Training Program, which would help the trainees obtain the necessary skills to thrive in their native communities. She was one of six females of the 36 police officer trainee students that graduated on Tuesday, July 11 from the United States Indian Police Academy in Artesia, N.M.

The Police Officer Training Program covers four components: academics, physical fitness, firearms and driving skills, which are all crucial in becoming a successful police officer. Baker says the hardest part of her training she had to go through was being shocked by a Taser gun and having to handcuff a suspect after being pepper sprayed in a practice scenario.

“The best part of the training was to apply the academic testing to practical scenarios and gradually becoming better as time went on,” Baker said.

“Congratulations, this is quite an achievement. I am happy to see your success as a role model to the community and inspire those behind you” Councilman Kevin Frost said.

“Pick something that you enjoy working in and doing, if you know what you want then you can push yourself to be great and dedicate your effort and time into the hard work that it takes to become successful,” Baker said, hoping to reach tribal youth who might follow in her footsteps or seek out careers of their own.

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