Powell Police Hires New Officer
February 10, 2023
By CJ Baker, Powell Tribune
Although Jade Euan didn’t move to Powell until last month, a part of her heart has been in Wyoming for the better part of two decades.
Euan researched Wyoming for a fourth grade project in northern California, and the state immediately captured her interest. Ever since then, “I’ve been in love with Wyoming and wanted to move here,” Euan said. “I just never had the opportunity.”
But opportunity arrived last year, when she was hired as a Powell police officer. Euan — the department’s first female police officer in a couple of decades — was formally sworn in at Monday’s Powell City Council meeting.
She brings years of law enforcement experience to the position, having previously served with the Ferndale, California, Police Department and the Humboldt County, California, Sheriff’s Office.
Euan, 28, originally planned on being a firefighter, and started her career in emergency services with the Hoopa Valley Wildland Fire Department. The California valley is heavily forested, and Euna witnessed multiple houses burn in the region’s wildfires, including her childhood home. She said seeing the losses help her develop greater empathy, along with the mental strength needed to face the challenges that arise in law enforcement.
“It’s not like you can talk a fire down and say, ‘Please stop.’ You’ve got to face that down and figure out how to stop it,” she said.
Euan enjoyed the firefighting work, but it was seasonal, and her father suggested she consider serving as a cop.
“I’ve always had a huge respect for law enforcement,” she said, but it had never crossed her mind that it was a career she could pursue.
“I couldn’t see myself doing it,” Euan said.
Her perspective changed, however, after riding along with officers from different agencies in her area. One trip was with a female officer from Hawaii, and seeing a woman minority in the position gave Eaun the inspiration that she could do it, too.
Eaun put herself through the law enforcement academy and was hired at a small department in Ferndale, serving a city of roughly 1,400 people. Then, after a couple years as a Humboldt County sheriff’s deputy, she decided to enter an addiction studies program at the College of Redwoods in nearby Eureka, California. It’s something she wishes she’d done before entering law enforcement.
“It opened my mind,” she said.
Growing up on the Hoopa Valley Reservation and witnessing the effects of drug abuse, “I always thought people chose that — like, they actively chose drugs, alcohol over family over their children,” Euan said. But through her college studies she learned “there’s so much more to it — genetics, the environment” and how people can become trapped in generational cycles.
“I broke cycles,” said Euan, who is a member of the Hupa tribe. “I should be a statistic. I should be back home on the rez, addicted to drugs, with a bunch of kids, but I decided to break that cycle by leaving the rez and wanting to create a better life for myself.”
She said her message is, “No matter what you go through, you can be something great.” As an officer, Euan said she seeks to empathetically listen to people to help solve whatever problems they’re facing.
While at the College of the Redwoods, Euan became the institution’s lead security officer, heading up a department that included a half-dozen other workers. They were all men, so she has no qualms about joining Powell’s all-male corps of officers.
“I know how to work with the guys,” she said.
Although it was a grade school poster project that sparked her interest in Wyoming, it was a pair of former law enforcement colleagues — Powell Police Sgt. Dustin DelBiaggio and his wife, Tierra — who convinced Euan to move to Powell.
Euan worked alongside Tierra DelBiaggio in Ferndale and served Humboldt County at the same time as Dustin DelBiaggio; they became strong friends.
“I’ve always been a part of their family,” Euan said.
The DelBiaggios encouraged her to apply for one of the Powell Police Department’s open positions, but Euan was still “hemming and hawing” about a move until a September visit. While in town, Euan decided to ride along with Officer Caleb Schmidt to get a feel for the police department. Schmidt “was very encouraging and very supportive” about the prospect of Euan joining the force, she said, and “that kind of sealed the deal for me.”
She turned in an application.
“I said to myself, ‘If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be,’” Euan said. “... And here I am.”
Coming to a small town like Powell can be an adjustment, but for Euan, the city is actually bigger than most places she’s lived. Since arriving in mid-January, the cold has been “kicking my butt,” she said, but other than that, Wyoming has been as she’d hoped.
“I love it here,” Euan said.
With her hiring, the police department now has three vacant officer positions.