DENVER (KDVR) — A member of the Denver Sheriff Department is making history by becoming the first Latina to hold the rank of major.

Janelle Orozco received a promotion and is breaking barriers within the department.

“I’m a mom, a grandma, and I’m a member of the community,” said Orozco, who was born and raised in Denver.

Her tenure with the department didn’t start in 2022. Orozco has been wearing her uniform proudly for 20 years.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work in various areas and get a well-rounded view of what the Denver Sheriff office entails,” Orozco said.

She started at just 22 years old and has served in Denver’s detention center, correctional medical facility, county jail and more. Over the last two decades, the Denver native has been working hard and climbed her way up the ranks, from deputy to sergeant to captain and now major.

That means she will be a part of the executive leadership team and will oversee recruitment and training. The position is also hand-picked by the sheriff.

“I’m excited to jump into that and learn as much as I can, be a sponge,” Orozco said. “I know there’s a lot of work to be done, but I feel like I’m the right person to jump into that.”

1st Latina major in Denver Sheriff’s 120-year history

She’ll also be jumping into the history books as well; Orozco will be the first Latina to achieve the rank of major in the department’s 120-year history.

“I’m really excited to be able to make that small portion of history and to be able to lay that foundation for future females,” Orozco said.

The Denver Sheriff Department is the largest in Colorado and Orozco said she is ready to get to work, setting an example for women, women of color and her community.

“I hope to be an example and an inspiration to younger people,” Orozco said. “You can do anything you put your mind to.”

She will be officially sworn into her new position on Sept. 9.