Colo. cop proposes to girlfriend, a PD employee, with fake death call
The future newlyweds first met through a junior deputy program
By Morgan McKenzie
Greeley Tribune, Colo.
GREELEY, Colo. — A volunteer with the Greeley Police Department received a call about a suspicious death near Missile Site Park — something she didn’t think twice of until she saw her soon-to-be husband on one knee.
Sydney Ortega, a volunteer for the victim services unit and a full-time records technician for the Greeley Police Department, never expected the seemingly routine call to result in a ring on her finger.
Her long-term partner in crime, Andrew Brown, a Garden City police officer, connected with supervisors at victim services to pull off the proposal of a lifetime Feb. 7. Together, the team helped Brown craft the idea of proposing through a fake death-related call, which is her least favorite call to respond to.
Brown encouraged Ortega to take a shift on Feb. 7, her first volunteer shift of the new year. Adamantly, Brown convinced her to work the shift, because he would be in court all day.
“There were no police cars or flashing lights, but usually there are,” Ortega said about arriving at the scene. “All the other supervisors were there with cameras and then Andrew came out of the truck and I’m like, ‘Wait a second, you lied to me, you said you had court.’”
Ortega described experiencing instant tears as Brown pulled her into the street, a rose in hand and a beautiful view in the background. She said “yes” to the man of her dreams.
Because of Ortega and Brown’s love story and their long history together, their families had a simple response: “It’s about time.”
The perfectly-executed proposal to tie the knot tied in their connections to the law enforcement field, which dates back to the origins of their relationship.
The two first met through the Explorers program hosted by the Weld County Sheriff’s Office, which is like a junior deputy program, according to Brown. The couple also did Honor Guard together.
In 2015, during Ortega’s sophomore year of high school and Brown’s freshman in college, they began dating. Brown continued going down the law enforcement path by getting a criminal justice degree from Aim’s Community College before going into the police academy.
When he joined the academy, Ortega was entering her senior year of high school. The two took a break from their relationship for about a year as they worked on themselves and focused on their future. But they found their way back to each other after their time apart.
“Him going through the academy, that’s definitely something you have to focus on and really work at, and senior year was a big thing for me, just being the first in my family to graduate,” Ortega said. “So we just kind of took that time to focus on our respective stuff so that we could excel.”
A high school graduation, a police academy graduation and a rekindling of their relationship led to the next chapter in their lives. Ortega began working for Marco’s Pizza to pay her way through college to get her criminal justice degree, while Brown started working with the Brighton Police Department.
She continued working for Marco’s Pizza for two years, and during that time, she found involvement in the victim’s service unit at the Greeley Police Department.
“That was something she really wanted to do was volunteer work,” Brown said. “I was proud of her and supported her through that.”
Brown’s next steps in law enforcement brought him to the Garden City Police Department. He has worked as a full-time patrol officer, along with being in charge of events for the town, for three years.
The couple had been living together for about a year and a half in an apartment but had hopes to buy a house before going down the marriage path, the couple said.
At one point, Marco’s Pizza had a staffing shortage and the couple needed more funds to buy a home, so Brown delivered pizzas as a side gig to help out his future wife and work towards their shared goal.
“I was a full-time police officer and delivering pizzas,” he said. “We were working together because we’ve always been a great team. And we eventually bought a house together.”
Ultimately, Brown and Ortega being a “great team,” is what led to Brown’s decision to get down on one knee, he said.
Ortega was hired as a records technician for the Greeley Police Department and continued to do volunteer work due to her love of helping out the community.
“He is just very supportive,” Ortega said about Brown. “I was putting myself through school and doing a lot of stuff, and he was always there. He’s my rock and supported my dream of, ‘I want to be a victim advocate and I want to do records.’”
Despite her busy schedule with volunteering and working full-time, Ortega gave up a lot of hours of sleep to make time to volunteer at one of Garden City’s events to help out Brown. The couple’s teamwork, along with providing a support system to one another, was showcased once again.
Brown knew they were ready to take the leap into marriage.
“That was when I decided, ‘Wow, she’s really showing me that we’re a good team,’” Brown said. “So that’s when I decided I was going to ask her to marry me.
“There’s just this bubbliness and this love that she’s got. I see it here all the time, and I’m lucky. I know she brings that same kind of ‘everything’s going to be okay’ feeling to other people. So that’s what I love most about her. She can just pick me up after a hard day or just get me through anything.”
Brown and Ortega’s solid foundation will continue into marriage, something that is generated from their solid foundation within their law enforcement-focused careers. Both share a deep passion for helping and being involved in the community, the couple said.
“We are both public servants in the community,” Brown said. “She primarily works with the civilian side and I’m the sworn law side but we have two great teams in separate departments. We’re a blue family at heart. We love both our groups and northern Colorado as a whole.”
Both of their agencies have been supportive throughout their journey together, according to Ortega and Brown. After furthering their careers and creating a life together in the community, the two have nothing but gratitude for everyone who supported them make their dreams come true, and helped them find each other along the way.
As Ortega and Brown plan to share “I do’s” in April 2023, the future newlyweds have no plans to leave behind the community they grew together in.
“We’re two local Greeley kids who are born and raised, gone to high school here, college here and just worked here,” Brown said. “We’ve had our own little Weld County love story.”
(c)2022 the Greeley Tribune (Greeley, Colo.)