Merriam retires after 17 years with sheriff’s office

Rio Blanco County Sheriff Anthony Mazzola presents a commemorative plaque to Deby Merriam for her 17 years of service to our county. A very “coveted item” is clearly in view mounted at the top of the plaque, a key to the old jail. Doc Watson photo

By Doc Watson
Special to the Herald Times
RBC | Rio Blanco County Sheriff Anthony Mazzola and some 50 friends and law enforcement colleagues attended a retirement party on Friday, Oct. 27 for Lt. Deby Merriam, detentions commander, who is retiring after 17 years of service to our county.
“It gives me pleasure to acknowledge Deb and what she has done for the citizens of this county,” Mazzola said. “One of the things our jail is known for is taking care of the inmates, no matter what they did, and I have seen the time, effort and care she gave the inmates.”
In appreciation for her service to our county, Mazzola presented Merriam with a commemorative plaque. What makes it very special is a coveted item mounted at the top of the plaque, a key to the old jail.
“It’s an honor for me to give this to you for your service to Rio Blanco County. Thank you,” he said.
With a little crack in her voice, Merriam thanked everyone in attendance. “As hard as some days were here, there were rewards,” she said. “Without my extremely good helpers through the years, I never could have done the job. I just hope I’ve made a difference somewhere to somebody. Every once in awhile you get one that comes back and says, ‘If it hadn’t been for you . . .’ and [I’m relieved that] I did something right.”
Merriam is anything but “retired.” One attendee was overheard saying, “She never stops.” Indeed, she also works as a respiratory therapist at Pioneers Medical Center.
But she is also concerned about the future for law enforcement personnel, such as her replacement, newly promoted Lt. Jeremy Muxlow. “Times are changing,” she said. “These people who are coming up behind me have a lot rougher row to hoe because all the laws the judges, the DAs, the jails and the sheriff’s office have to conform to makes it harder.”
“Time will go on, and nothing is irreplaceable,” she concluded. “But in my heart you are all irreplaceable, and I thank you.”