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During the last few months, the race for Rio Blanco County Sheriff has quietly moved toward what will be a significant election for the citizens of Rio Blanco County.
This is a race that will decide the direction of the Rio Blanco Sheriff’s Office for the next four years and will determine whether the sheriff’s office continues its current path or a complete change of course. As a citizen of the county, I have decided to share my own perspective on the race.
After 32 years in uniform, with 25 of those years in law enforcement, and viewing the current sheriff race through my “lens of experience,” I continue to ask myself why anyone would want to change the current direction of the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office.
In 2009, working from a short list of “desired” departments, I chose to join the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Department.
I made the decision after making numerous trips to Rio Blanco County, visiting with people in Meeker and Rangely, spending hours drinking coffee and sodas in convenience stores and restaurants. In most instances, I could not find anyone who had any major complaints about the RBCSO.
Most people agreed that the office was very sensitive to citizen needs, performed at above-average standards, was well run and generally well liked and respected by almost everyone I spoke with.
At the end of my inquiry, I determined that the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office was probably one of the most professional and capable sheriff’s offices in Colorado. Going to work for the sheriff’s office and serving the citizens of Rio Blanco County was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself and my family.
Even though the department has been repeatedly subjected to personnel and budgetary downsizing during the last four years, every measure has been taken to ensure that the citizens of the county do not feel the effects of the cuts.
The department’s case closure rate is excellent when measured against like-sized departments. Response times are very good when gaged against the size of the county.
Citizen complaints are almost zero; in fact, for every complaint I have had to investigate, I have received two or three accolades for deputies.
The department continues to provide many services not normally associated with a small sheriff’s office. Those include investigating traffic accidents, commercial motor vehicle inspections and weighing oversized loads, as well as many other services. All of these are performed with the needs and desires of the citizen in mind.
Although the office of sheriff is an elected office, politics is not a driving force within the agency, and professionalism and community service are the goals of the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Si Woodruff and Undersheriff Mike Joos have worked hard to build a department the citizens of this county can depend on. With Sheriff Woodruff retiring at the end of his term, it only makes sense to elect Undersheriff Mike Joos to the position of Rio Blanco County Sheriff.
The citizens of Rio Blanco County demand excellence from the sheriff’s office, and for the last 12 years have obtained exactly that. With Mike Joos as the next Rio Blanco County sheriff, the citizens will continue to experience the same excellent level of service.