About TopCops Driving School
TopCops instructors hail from many different Law Enforcement agencies in the Denver metro area. It is the diversity of backgrounds in these officers that makes young drivers from all walks of life comfortable behind the wheel with us. We prepare students at a cognitive and emotional level to accept and understand the responsibility associated with driving by developing their SIPDE (Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute) skill set. This exceptional training can only be offered exclusively by trained and decorated police officers which can only be found at TopCops!
Trust » Safety » Professionalism » Fun
Meet the TopCops Officers:
Instructor: Sergeant Ernie Lucero
Prior to being promoted to Sergeant and just leaving the TPD Detective Division, Detective Lucero was named "School Resource Officer of the Year" for 2013 in the state of Colorado. Ernie was given this honor by his peers at the Colorado Association of School Resource Officers. Ernie has been in law enforcement for 21 years and has held several positions within his field. Ernie's most enjoyable time in his career has been with his work with gangs and making a difference with youth. Ernie has been a DARE officer, a gang officer, and has spent the last 10 years of his career as a School Resource Officer. Ernie is also a Emergency Vehicle Operation Course instructor and he has instructed police officers in the safe operation of police vehicles in both emergency and non-emergency situations. In his new position at Sergeant, Ernie will be supervising a crew of outstanding police officers which is what makes Ernie a TopCop!
Instructor: Officer Tom Kirksey
Officer Kirksey has served more than 15 years in law enforcement with Baltimore City Police, Breckenridge and Wheat Ridge. Over his career, Officer Kirksey has served with SWAT, assigned as a Field Training Officer, narcotics Detective, and an Academy Instructor specializing in training young police officers with emergency vehicle operations. His service has earned him a bronze star for valor, two distinguished service awards, crime reduction award, several unit citations, individual citations, a medal of commendation and a courage award. Officer Kirksey is also a CIT Officer, focusing on the concerns of those with mental and behavioral health needs in the community. Through his CIT experiences he, and his family, have fostered high risk youth; assisting them in transitioning back into the community and with their families. In the community, Officer Kirksey coaches basketball and football as well as serving as a member with community groups. Officer Kirksey truly enjoys working with youth and believes the positive influence from our community leaders as well as education will help secure their future as well as the future of our country. His commitment to mentoring the youth in our community is what makes him a TOPCOP!
Instructor: Officer Matt Neihart
Officer Neihart has been a police officer since 2004 and started his career with the Vail Police Department. Working in a resort town, he was able to sharpen his customer service skills and he specialized in building relationships with the community. Officer Neihart spent many months driving the mountain passes in bad weather and is now a specialist in mountain driving. Officer Neihart has a Bachelor's Degree in business administration. Officer Neihart currently works at Westminster Police Department where he has held positions at Field Training Officer, Defensive Tactics Instructor, and Police Driving Instructor at WPD.
Matt has a great deal of patience with new drivers and brings a lot of what he knows as a driving instructor at the police department with him while he teaches your kid how to drive. Matt does a great job reinforcing the basics with students so that they can become safe and successful drivers on their own... Thanks Matt for being a TOPCOP!
Instructor: Glenn Davis
TopCops is so lucky to add to the long list of amazing professional instructors that work for the company with the addition of Glenn Davis who is the Highway Safety Manager for the Colorado Department of Transportation. Glenn's responsibilities include coordination of the Impaired Driving, Speed Enforcement and Motorcycle Safety Program. Glenn retired from the Littleton Police Department (LPD) after 25 years in law enforcement. At LPD, Glenn served in the patrol division, detectives and community service divisions. Glenn's last assignment at LPD was school resource officer at Littleton High School. Glenn still has a law enforcement role as a sergeant in the reserves of a police department in north-east Colorado. Glenn has held instructor qualifications in motorcycle basic operator, standard field sobriety testing, intoxilyzer and drug recognition expert training. Glenn has a B.A. in Criminal Justice and a Master's Degree in Education from Colorado State University. Glenn has an extensive educational background that he is excited to pass along to young drivers, and he is committed to preparing young people how to drive safely and enjoy their driver training experience.
Instructor: Officer Suzanne Barber
Suzanne comes to us from Commerce City Police department where she spent many years patroling the streets keeping people safe in North Denver. Suzanne responded to 911 calls and many accidents during her police career where she dealt with teens and adults of all ages who had been in a crash. Officer Barber served as an officer for 15 years before having to take a medical retirement from the Commerce City Police Department. During her years of service she was a member of Commerce City's Special Service Unit and to date is the only female to be recognized for completing 100 missions. Suzanne was a trained Hostage negotiator, a member of the Crisis Intervention Team and a Field Training Officer. Suzanne really enjoys training and was a part of a team who rewrote the procedures for the Commerce City training unit . During her 15 years Suzanne received many commendations, including the Metal of Distinction, the Purple Heart and the Medal of Valor.
Suzanne is a well respected instructor with TopCops and is such a great female role model for our younger female drivers who are just getting behind the wheel. Suzanne provides a positive learning environment while at the same time using all of the street-wise techniques she learned as a cop. It is her ability to apply these skills with your young driver every day that makes her a TopCop!
Instructor: Sergeant Fred Dudley
Sergeant Fred Dudley is an experienced instructor with TopCops and has 15 years of law enforcement experience. Sgt. Dudley won the TPD medal of valor twice as a SWAT officer and he has also worked as a detective and Field Training Officer. Sgt. Dudley has many years of teaching experience as he was assigned as the TPD police academy Lead Instructor and Coordinator for new recruits. Sergeant Dudley has additional training in DUI enforcement, narcotics and accident investigation. Sgt. Dudley has four children, one of which is a new driver himself, so Fred knows how to relate to teens behind the wheel.
Instructor: Officer Mike Jelen
Officer Mike Jelen is a Senior Police Officer at WPD. Mike has over 27 total years in Law Enforcement and Fire Fighting. Mike is a former SWAT Operator and was awarded the Purple Heart award in 2005. Officer Jelen has received numerous other department commendations along with citizen commendations. Mike was assigned to DUI enforcement along with the traffic unit, where he responded to and investigated many types of accidents. Mike holds a B.A. degree in Criminal Justice from Regis College-1992. Mike is very excited about being an instructor with TopCops and can't wait to work with you and your student driver. Mike is one of our drive test specialists so when your young driver has held their permit for 365 days, you may see Mike when you come to take your driver's test with us!
Instructor: Officer Dale Crump
Officer Crump has been in Law Enforcement for the past 19 years and has been working for the Aurora Police Department for the past 16 years. Officer Crump has held several assignments that include the following:
Working as a Patrol Officer responding to all 911 calls for service and conducting and completing all types of investigations.Traffic Unit for 6 years which included technical accident reconstruction training for serious accidents and DUI training. He has worked several DUI shifts and checkpoints during his time in the Traffic Unit and has made several DUI arrests. Motorcycle Unit for 2 years where he was involved in several Motorcades involving dignitaries including the President of the United States. Field Training Officer/Patrol for the past 9 years, he has had the honor of training new recruits once they graduate from the basic academy and afterword teaches them how to become a safe Patrol Officer. Officer Crump has been teaching DARE (drug abuse resistance education) to 5th graders in the Aurora Public and Cherry Creek schools throughout the City of Aurora for the past nine years. He was recently certified to teach 4th graders and 6th and 7th graders the GREAT (Gang resistance education and training) program. Officer Crump looks forward to assisting your teenage driver in becoming a safer and more proficient driver, and this is what makes him one of our TopCops!
Instructor: Motor Officer Jamie Howrey
Officer Howrey brings veteran teaching experience to TopCops through his work as a nationally certified Police Motorcycle Instructor. Many of the SIPDE skills that Officer Howrey teaches in his motor classes transcend to driving instruction such as scanning for hazards and predicting errors from other drivers. Officer Howrey has been assigned to the TPD motor unit for 8 years and has participated in many motorcade escorts for presidents and other dignitaries. Officer Howrey works closely with motor units from many metro agencies to stay current on instructor tactics which he shares with the TopCops team. Jamie is one of our drive test specialists so when your young driver has held their permit for 365 days, you may see him when you come to take your driver's test with us!
Instructor: Officer John Martinez
Officer Martinez is a five year veteran at TPD with his main focus on training new officers. John is on the defensive tactics team where he teaches new police recruits how to handuff and use their tools to keep themselves safe. John uses many of these kinetic or "muscle memory" tactics during his instruction to make the driving task second nature to a young driver. John emphasizes "Scanning" and keeping eyes up so that young drivers can spot hazards and trouble spots prior to arriving at them. Like a sports coach, John uses positive reinforcement to create a positive driving experience, but he also idenitifies weaknesses with young drivers so that they can work on those things to get better. It is his exceptional skills as an instructor in so many facets that makes Officer Martinez one of our TopCops!
Instructor: Motor Officer Colby Dillon
Officer Colby Dillon attended the University of Northern Colorado where he received a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. He graduated from UNC in 2010 and began his police career working for the NPD in January of 2011. While attending the police academy Colby won the "Top Driver" award out of 25 cadets. Colby has been in the traffic unit since April of 2013 and Colby tells us "I see a lot of cars, a lot of roads, and a lot of good and bad drivers".
Colby's favorite part about being an officer is getting to meet so many people and briefly get to know them. Colby says…"I enjoy working with the kids at Top Cops for the same reason: every teen has a different set of strengths and weaknesses, and I like to increase on the strengths, but also work on the weaknesses." Colby also says…" My least favorite part of being a police officer was getting tazed and pepper sprayed twice during the police academy."
Colby is just an all-american guy and is such a hard worker. It is his commitment to improving and genuine love of the job that makes him a "TopCop".
Instructor: Officer Brandon Murray
Officer Murray retired after 10 years of Law Enforcement experience with Boulder PD, but then re-joined the law enforcment team as a code enforcement officer in Commerce City. He has a wealth of experience driving in and around the Boulder County area. Working as a street cop in Boulder, Officer Murray gained a great deal of knowledge in traffic law and has a high level of professionalism and dedication to keeping young drivers safe. Brandon worked in Hawaii for three years and was a DUI Enforcement instructor also. Officer Murray works well with new drivers and he has a great deal of patience in making sure that new drivers learn the right way. It is the diversity of his skills that sets him apart from other officers… and that is what makes Officer Murray a TopCop!
Instructor: Officer Fred Fawcett
Officer Fawcett worked with the Westminster Police Department for many years before retiring. Officer Fawcett works hard with parents and young drivers to make sure kids are safe and successful on the road. Instruction comes naturally to Officer Fawcett, as he has spent many years as a police field training officer, a defensive tactics instructor. Officer Fawcett has a tireless commitment to professionalism and excellence which is why he was chosen for the TopCops staff.
Instructor: Officer Monica Hafner
Officer Hafner brings a wealth of experience from WPD to both the classroom and the street for TopCops. Monica is an amazing instructor in the classroom where she talks about her real life experiences as a cop with texting and driving on streets. Monica is a no-nonsense patrol officer who responds to 911 calls, arrests drunk drivers and works enforcing the traffic laws. Monica is a great female role model who talks about real life decisions and how they effect many people's lives. We are so lucky to have Monica as a resource to TopCops because of her effect on young people. Monica is committed to the safety of your young driver both in the classroom and on the streets. Monica has such a great rapport with kids and one of those reasons is because she is not just a cop, she is a mom too. Monica's commitment to the lives of young people and her ability to effect young lives is what makes her a TopCop!
Instructor: Captain Bruce Sheetz
Captain Bruce Sheetz comes to us from the Colorado State Patrol where he spent his career keeping the highways safe in Boulder County and many other areas around the state of Colorado. Captain Sheetz retired from the Colorado State Patrol after 30 years of service. His various duty assignments afforded him the opportunity to work in numerous areas of the state, including 4 years in Boulder County as a Trooper. During his career, he was awarded the Medal of Valor, the Colonel's Award for Excellence, and MADD's Colonel Mark V. Trostel Law Enforcement Office of the Year Award. He continues to work in traffic safety as a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach and Quality Assurance Specialist, a Regional Law Enforcement Liaison with CDOT's Office of Transportation Safety, and an Alive At 25 Instructor entering his 13th year. It is this level of experience and commitment to the safety of teen drivers that makes Bruce one of our TOPCOPS!
Instructor: Officer Jeff Stanelle
Jeff is an outstanding instructor with TopCops and he brings close to twenty years of law enforcement experience prior to retiring with TPD to our TopCops staff. Jeff has some practical experience with TopCops, because prior to him joining our staff one of his kids completed our program and got his license! Jeff really knows the anxiety parents can develop with a new driver with the tests and drive logs and all that paperwork... and he is committed to training your young driver to be just as successful as his. We here at TopCops are committed to making your experience with us as smooth as possible, and we accomplish that by using experienced cops who really know what the process is about, like Jeff Stanelle!
Instructor: Commander Chris Laws
Commander Chris Laws retired from the Adams County Sheriff's Department after 24 years of service in every division of the sheriff's office during his career. He served as a detective, Patrol sergeant and Administrative Commander over the course of his career. Chris also held a position as an emergency vehicle operations instructor, teaching his fellow officers how to drive police cars in a safe and prudent manner. Chris is passionate about sharing his knowledge and experience with his students helping them become better drivers and understand the responsibility involved with their actions every time they get behind the wheel. Chris worked in many aspects of law enforcement and his experience and wealth of knowledge are what make him qualified to teach your young person how to be a safe driver. His distinguished career is one of the many reasons why we chose him as an elite instructor for TopCops!
Instructor: Officer Joe Hastings
Officer Hastings brings over thirty years of law enforcement experience to the TopCops team! Joe began his career as an MP in the United States Army and moved on to the Peoria Illinois and Westminster Co. Police Departments. Joe has served as a patrolman, field training instructor, range officer and detective. Joe has spent many years on the Adams County Critical Incident Team and is a member of the Colorado Homicide Inverstigators Association.
Joe has a B.S. from Eastern Illionois Universtity and a Masters degree from CU Denver. Joe is also the recipient of the Micheal Powell Investigator of the Year award given from the Colorado Association of Robbery Investigators.
Its pretty clear that Joe has an extensive training background, and has a great deal of life experience to go along with all of those degrees and awards. He does a great job of sharing those life experiences with your student driver so that they can not only keep themselves "steet safe" but also keep themselves safe behind the wheel. This is what makes Officer Hastings one of our TopCops!
Instructor: Officer Bruce Moua
Officer Bruce Moua has been in law enforcement for the past 16 years. Prior to that, he was in the Army. Bruce currently works in the Patrol Division at WPD.
Bruce's daughter just got her driving permit from TopCops and she is in the process of learning how to operate a vehicle safely. Therefore, Bruce understands & appreciates the dedication parents are investing in their teenagers. Bruce look forward to helping your kids become responsible drivers.
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall."