Sheriffs – Past and Present
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Sheriffs - Past and Present

The text and images are from the book:

Boulder County Sheriff’s Office – An illustrated History from 1861 – 2000

Sheriff Badge” The Historical Book Committee has put together a history of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office through pictures. There was no way that we could put an entire history of employees or events in one single piece of work. We have tried to portray the working environment of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office since the County was started in 1861 through pictures that were readily available or submitted to us. Individual portraits were taken of current employees in the summer of year 2000. We have tried to minimize mistakes in identifying individuals or dates of the photos. Due to the time span, failing memories and paperwork that we could not confirm, there may be mistakes. We apologize if any mistakes are made.”

The Historical Committee

Boulder County Sheriff's Past and Present

Sheriff Curtis JohnsonCurtis was born and raised in Boulder County, and except for attending college and graduate school out of state, he has lived and worked in Boulder County all his life. Curtis became interested in a career in public safety while in high school serving as a volunteer cadet with the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office.

After graduating from Fairview High School, he attended the University of Puget Sound where he completed a Bachelor of Arts in American Politics and Government, with a minor in Communication. After Curtis graduated from the University of Puget Sound, he enrolled at The American University in Washington DC, where he completed a Master of Arts in Public Administration with an emphasis in Law Enforcement Management.

In 1993, Curtis returned to Boulder, where he began his career with the Boulder Police Department. He served in a variety of progressively responsible roles during his 27 years with the department, including Patrol Officer, Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Professional Standards Supervisor, Commander, and Deputy Chief. In February of 2021, Curtis had the opportunity to join the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office as a Division Chief.
Curtis Johnson was elected to Boulder County Sheriff in November 2022, and sworn into office in January 2023, for a four-year term.

Sheriff Joe PelleSheriff Joe Pelle is a Colorado native, growing up in Boulder. He has 43 years of public safety experience and has served 5 terms, (20 yrs.), as the elected Sheriff of Boulder County. Joe became interested in a police career at an early age and was a member of the Sheriff’s Explorer Post as a teenager. In January of 1980 he went to work full time as a deputy sheriff. He then led a long career at the Sheriff’s Office and Boulder Police Department holding progressively responsible positions in various assignments, until he ran for sheriff in 2002 and took office in January 2003.

Joe has a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Colorado, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Public Administration from Metropolitan State College. He has attained numerous professional certifications.

Sheriff Pelle has led a full-service public safety agency of approximately 450 employees and hundreds of volunteers through 20 years of change and challenges. There have been major improvements in facilities, staffing, training, and equipment over the course of those years. The department and the community have been especially challenged with natural disasters including several major fires and a historic flood. We have weathered those well and have had tremendous community support.

Sheriff Pelle is most proud of the establishment of “Character First” as the working motto and bulwark of the Mission and Vision statement of the Sheriff’s Office.

Joe has been married to his wife Stephanie for the past 43 years. He has two grown-married children and 4 grandchildren in the area. He is looking forward to his retirement which becomes official January 10, 2023. He is looking forward to spending a lot of time with his family and hobbies.

Sheriff George EppWas elected Sheriff in 1990, having stepped forward as a candidate on the Democratic Party’s ticket following Brad Leach’s decision to retire. He was re-elected in 1994 and 1998.

George moved with his family to Boulder, from Michigan in 1951. As a child George delivered the Daily Camera, his route included the Court House. “I vividly remember taking the elevator up to the fifth floor and slipping the evening paper through the bars of the jail for Sheriff Everson”.

He attended Boulder High School, and graduated from the University of Colorado in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology.

George started as a jail deputy in 1972, in less than a year was promoted to detective. He worked through the ranks serving as detective sergeant, patrol lieutenant, captain of detectives, patrol, and the jail division.

Sheriff Brad LeachWas the first Democrat to hold the position in nearly two generations. He moved quickly to restore confidence in the organization, and gradually earned the public’s trust. He was re-elected to four subsequent terms before retiring in 1990.

Brad was 29 years old at the time and had six years of experience in law enforcement. He was a Boulder Police officer, but had to resign to run for sheriff. He worked in the District Attorney’ Office as Chief Investigator, and prior to that, had worked as a patrol deputy for the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. He started his career with the Boulder Police Department as a member of the “Special Police” in their Reserve organization.

Sheriff Marvin NelsonJoined the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office in 1963 as a “jailer”, having had prior experience in law enforcement. Born in Lindsey, Nebraska, in 1907, he became a charter member of the Nebraska Highway Patrol in 1937. There after, he served as chief of Police in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and as a deputy with the Scottsbluff County Sheriff’s Department.

Supported by the retiring Art Everson, he was elected to the Office of Sheriff in 1966 on the Republican ticket.

Marvin Nelson was defeated after one term, following his defeat, Marvin Nelson served as deputy U.S. Marshal and worked as a private investigator and salesman.

He died in Boulder in 1982, and is buried in St. Edward, Nebraska.

Sheriff Arthur EversonWas born in Northwood, Iowa, and moved with his family to Longmont in 1917. He was employed with George Richart’s trucking company when Richart was elected Sheriff in 1932, and was appointed as deputy shortly after Richart took office. Arthur ran for Sheriff in 1942 as a Republican following Sheriff Richart’s retirement.

When Everson took office in January 1943, he inherited an organization starved by Depression-era economics and depleted by the demands of a nation at war. He holds the distinction of having served as Sheriff longer (24 years) than anyone else in the organization’s history.

The Theresa Foster Homicide Case, sparked the need for improved techniques and training in forensics. Sheriff Everson and Boulder Police Chief Myron Teegarden established the “Boulder Crime School” in 1949.

In 1966, after serving the citizens of Boulder County for 34 years Sheriff Everson retired from law enforcement.

He died in 1984 and is buried in Longmont’s Mountain View Cemetery.

Sheriff George RichartWas born on the family farm near Niwot, as a young man he worked in the coal and feed business, and then established a trucking firm. A solid reputation led to his selection as President of the Colorado State of Independent Truckmen’s Association.

Sheriff Richart took the reins of the Sheriff Office during the depths of the Depression, also like his predecessor, enforcing Prohibition constituted a significant part of his job. With Boulder County’s population reaching 35,000 Sheriff Richart appointed several “special deputies”, the forerunners of the Sheriff’s Posse of the 1960’s and the present day Sheriff’s Reserve.

Sheriff Richart served five two year terms, and then retired to Longmont, where he entered the real estate business with his son-in-law. He also served as Longmont’s Mayor from 1948-1949.

After the death of Margaret Ann Richart on 13 March 1964, George married Mildred Louise Knaus Norrish on 24 October 1965. Mildred still lives in Longmont.

George and his first wife Margaret are buried in Longmont’s Mountain View Cemetery.

Sheriff Robert BlumThe election of 1922 was hotly contested, there were six announced candidates, including Sheriff Euler and two of his deputies. Robert V. Blum, a native of Longmont and prominent local businessman, was prevailed upon by the Democratic Party to run for Sheriff. In addition to his occupation as a clothier and president of the Commonwealth Industrial Bank, Blum served at various times as president of the Chamber of Commerce, Chief of Longmont’s Fire Department, and president of the local school board.

In 1926, Sheriff Blum and his deputies conducted more than 300 raids and liquor investigations, and never carried a weapon on duty. By 1927 the Office had a staff of six deputies.

Sheriff Blum stood for re-election to an unprecedented sixth term in 1932, but was defeated by Republican George Richart. He returned to Longmont and was selected to represent Boulder County in the State Legislature.

He died in Long Beach, CA. in 1956. Mr. Blum and his wife Kate are buried in Longmont’s Mountain View Cemetery.

Sheriff Robert EulerWas born in Warsaw, Illinois in 1868, and came to Boulder County with his family in 1872. He was a rancher and stock raiser, and prior to his service as Sheriff, held the position of deputy County Assessor.

He joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1913 and served as undersheriff in Sheriff’s Buster’s administration. He was elected Sheriff on the Republican ticket in 1916. Following his service as Sheriff, Mr. Euler resumed life as a rancher.

He died in 1941 and was buried on his ranch (presently the Parsons Ranch) on a hilltop overlooking the Boulder Valley.

Sheriff Sanford BusterA farmer from Hygiene, made something of a career in local politics. Following his two terms as Sheriff, he served as deputy County Assessor and three terms as a County Commissioner. Sheriff Buster is noted for having been the first to “motorize” the Sheriff’s Office, in 1914 he purchased four Excelsior motorcycles for the deputies to use in performing their duties.

Sheriff Buster died in 1938. He and his wife Pearl are buried in Longmont’s Mountain View Cemetery.

Sheriff M.P. CappA Longmont druggist and member of the firm of Capp and McCreery, was elected to office in 1908. Sheriff Capp was undoubtedly a busy man. A decision by the county’s electorate in 1907 to enact a local ban on the sale, production and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages (3.2 beer being excepted) went into effect in 1909, anticipating national Prohibition by seven years. More significantly, a protracted coal miner’s strike (1910-1914) put hundreds of local miners out of work and was the source of much tension and violence.

Evidently having had his fill of the violence, Sheriff Capp chose not to run for re-election, and retired to private life.

Tragically, he was accidentally killed in Boulder Canyon in 1927, trying to save a young man who had come into contact with a high voltage power line.

Sheriff Charles BartelServed two terms as County Sheriff, a resident of Longmont, he had worked previously as a jeweler and ran the local telephone exchange. He subsequently served the City of Boulder as Chairman of the town’s Fire and Police Committee.

At the time the Sheriff earned an annual salary of $3,000. The money was paid from fees brought in by the Sheriff Office.

No Image AvailableWas born in Delaware in 1846, his nickname commemorated his service during the Civil War as an officer. He married his wife Flora 1889, and like most of his predecessors, was involved in Boulder County’s mining industry, working a claim near Jamestown.

He served as undersheriff to Sheriff O.C. Hansbrough, and ran unsuccessfully for election as a Republican against John A. Jester in 1891. He ran again in 1899 and was elected to Consecutive terms.

Sheriff Sipple died in Boulder in 1908. He and his wife are buried in Boulder’s Columbia Cemetery.

No Image AvailableA Native of Indiana, came to the office of sheriff by an unusual route, having first served on the Board of County Commissioners from 1889-1892. He was elected Sheriff on the Populist Party ticket, and served one term.

Thomas Thompson moved to Colorado in 1871 and spent much of his adult life in mining and merchandising in the Ward and Gold Hill areas.

He married Hettie Lamson in Boulder in 1881.

Sheriff Warren DyerWas born in New Sharon, Maine where his father Zachariah served six years as Franklin County’s undersheriff and six years as sheriff.

Warren Dyer prospected briefly in the Black Hills of Dakota Territory in 1877 before moving on to Hastings, Nebraska, where he was appointed Adams County’s undersheriff. In 1880 he re-located to Breckenridge, Co. and resumed his prospecting, and served as Summit County undersheriff for two years. After a brief stay in Denver, Warren and wife Mollie relocated to Lyons and served as town alderman until he was elected Sheriff in 1893 on the “People’s Party” ticket.

Subsequent to his service as sheriff Mr. Dyer served as magistrate of Boulder’s “Police Court” and became a local real estate developer.

He and his Wife are buried in Boulder’s Columbia Cemetery.

Sheriff John JesterWas born and raised on a farm in Illinois and found his way to Colorado in April, 1873.

Here he engaged in mining up till 1890, and afterwards ran a grocery until he was elected Sheriff in the fall of 1891.

He was also a Chapter Mason.

No Image AvailableMoved to Boulder as a young man. In 1890, Sheriff Autrey directed that no more municipal prisoners be accepted in the County jail, and the City was forced to find other housing. They settled upon the Sheriff’s old offices at 1018 Pearl Street, the City Police Department remained there until 1924, when the roof caught fire and the City was forced to abandon the building.

Subsequent to his service as Sheriff, he, his wife Eliza, and son Leroy ran the Highland Store, a grocery, at 925 Arapahoe.

Sheriff Edward Autrey died July 10, 1928, in Boulder Co, Colorado. He’s buried in the Green Mountain Cemetery.

No Image AvailableOriginally from Ohio, the 1880 census listed him as residing at Gold Hill and as being employed as a miner.

The first attempt at organizing the County Sheriffs led to the creation of the “Sheriff’s Association of Colorado” on February 25th, 1888. Sheriff Hansbrough served as the Superintendent of District 1.

Mr. Hansbrough and his Wife Carrie are buried in Boulder’s Columbia Cemetery.

Sheriff Eli MetcalfWas born in Gilsum, New Hampshire, and moved to Boulder as a young man. A prominent businessman, he operated a meat market at 13th and Pearl Streets in the 1870’s and was a partner in mining and ranching operations at the Walker Ranch on Flagstaff Mountain in the 1880’s.
At the time of his election, he operated a livery stable, “Whitney & Metcalf”, Boulder.

Following his service as Sheriff, Mr. Metcalf was elected to represent citizens as a town alderman.

Eli Metcalf and his Wife Margaret are buried in Boulder’s Columbia Cemetery.

No Image AvailableCame to Colorado in 1872 from Missouri by rail. Settling in Boulder County, the Yates family resided by turns over the next 50 years in Caribou, Sugarloaf, near the “Golden Age” mine at Jamestown, in Sunshine, Boulder, and Magnolia.

Elected Sheriff in 1881, the highlight of his administration was the construction of the new county courthouse and jail on Pearl Street, between 13th and 14th Streets.

Sheriff John EllinghamJohn Ellingham emigrated from Illinois in 1860, he was a man of many interests. He worked as a ranch hand, a mason, did some mining all across the west, freighted goods by wagon across the plains, in 1876 he was made Superintendent of the Caribou mines.

He was elected Sheriff in 1877 and re-elected in 1879, he also served as a Deputy U.S. Marshal, before returning to California, where he again took up mining.

No Image AvailableWas the last of the Territorial Sheriff’s. Sheriff Hockaday ushered in a new era, serving as the first Sheriff of Boulder County in the State of Colorado. The Territory was granted statehood on August 1, 1876.

Charles Hockaday came to Boulder County in search of gold, emigrating from Missouri in 1860.

Finding law enforcement to his liking, Sheriff Hockaday also served as a Deputy U.S. Marshal from 1877-1884. His son Edmund also served Boulder County for a time as a deputy sheriff in Sheriff M.P. Capp’s administration.

No Image AvailableThough little is known about Sheriff Sears, it might be inferred from the existent record, that he was ahead of his time in providing medical care to prisoners and looking out for ways to cut costs.

No Image AvailableWas born in Canada and emigrated to Boulder County in the spring of 1859, following the reports of gold having being discovered in the area.

A pioneer farmer, he purchased 160 acres on Boulder Creek, 12 miles east of Boulder. By 1877, he had increased his holdings to 1,040 acres.

Sheriff Howell was the first sheriff to serve more than one term.

No Image AvailableLittle information is available about the administration of Sheriff Henry Green.

He was assisted by Undersheriff Isaac Wilcox.

Sheriff Ephraim PoundHe came to Colorado in 1862 from New York. He quickly established himself as a leading citizen and was intimately associated with the public spirited enterprises and boosterism that epitomized early Boulder County.

He ran the principal hotel in town, the “Colorado House” in partnership with his father, and served as first mayor of Boulder termed the “President of the Board of Trustees” in 1873.

Sheriff David NicholsHe was elected Sheriff in 1863, but absented himself from office in order to take a Captain’s commission with the Third Colorado Volunteer Cavalry, called upon by Territorial Governor John Evans in 1864 to suppress Indian uprisings. In his capacity as Captain of Company D, Nichols participated in the infamous Sand Creek Massacre, on November 29, 1864.

Following his return, Nichols was elected to the Territorial Legislature, and was forced to give up his position as Sheriff. He served two non-consecutive terms in the Legislature and was instrumental in bringing the University of Colorado to Boulder.

He served as Lieutenant Governor from 1893-1895 and was a member of the Board of Commissioners for the Colorado State Penitentiary for 19 years.

No Image AvailableWilliam A. Corson was appointed the first Sheriff of Boulder County by Territorial Governor William Gilpin following the establishment of the Territory of Colorado in 1861. Drawn to the area by the reports of the discovery of gold, William Corson soon found that the value of the gold extracted was exceeded by the labor invested, and he eventually settled upon ranching in the Boulder Valley as his principal occupation.

State records also reflect the fact that in 1865, William Corson served as the clerk of a company of volunteer Colorado Cavalry. County records indicate that he served as County Assessor in 1864 and as the Clerk and Recorder from 1867-1870.

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