By Caitlin Switzer

MONTROSE—She grew up in Delta, and then left for the Front Range and a suc- cessful career as a headhunter in the Den- ver area. Today, she is back home on the Western Slope, helping to make life better for the citizens of tomorrow. As an investi- gator for the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, Monique Salido pursues the truth in investigations involving felonies, crimes against persons and properties, and child abuse.

“Ninety percent of the cases I see involve sexual assaults on children,” Salido said. “It’s important for parents to talk to their kids; don’t be embarrassed to have conser- vations about predatory behaviors—please make them aware.”

An increase in public awareness concern- ing sexual assault may be one reason more cases are reported than in times past, she noted.

“More people are reporting these crimes, and more people are willing to be witness- es,” Salido said. “Years ago, this just wasn’t talked about. We go out and edu- cate parents, teachers and caregivers. There are many components to an investi- gation—so please come forward with any information you have that will help us in our investigations.”

Montrose County currently has five in- vestigators, one of whom is assigned to work with the Drug Task Force, Salido said. She herself has been with the depart- ment for the past seven years, and has been an investigator for five years. She works four days per week, and is on call should the need arise.

“The biggest challenge of the work is that we wish we could bring resolution to more victims than we are able,” Salido said. “I wish the numbers were higher when it

comes to satisfaction with the cases re- solved. The agency is solid; we have strong direction and leadership—the peo- ple in charge today are putting the Sher- iff’s department in a good position to be very effective for a number of years.” The department does not have many cold cases, she said.

“If a case is not resolveable, we leave it inactive so it can be re-opened if new in- formation comes in,” she said. “Then, hopefully it can be resolved.”

Salido, the mother of two grown sons serving in the military, also hopes to make the public aware that they can play a role in crime prevention.

“Over the past year, we have seen a rash of burglaries and thefts,” she said. “The economy has certainly played a part; it is no excuse, but it does contribute to people needing money, and sometimes they take the easy way out.

“Usually they need money for drugs; we see a lot of those cases.”

“There is no geographic target,” she said. “These are often just crimes of opportuni- ty—and we have been fortunate that, by working with the police department, we have been able to arrest the individuals accountable for a number of those burgla- ries.”