Summit County Sheriff John Minor hired as new Silverthorne Police Chief
Summit County Sheriff John Minor will step up as Silverthorne’s new police chief in May. Town manager Ryan Hyland selected him as a top candidate of the 102 individuals who applied through a series of interviews and panels.
Minor served with the Silverthorne Police Department from 1993 to 2004 as a patrol officer, sergeant and senior sergeant before taking on the role of sheriff.
“This was one of those rare opportunities that you have in life to return to a place that you deeply care about,” he said. “Some of the peace officers that I helped train over the years — I’m excited to go back there and work with them.”
Having served as sheriff for the past 12 years, he has seen Summit County change dramatically over the past two decades. He launched his career in law enforcement as a deputy with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office back when Silverthorne was a small town of just over 1,000 with a few trailer parks.
“(Silverthorne) has also grown up, and it’s starting to be a really wonderful, beautiful place. … I will be doing my best to mentor, guide and lead, but I will also be learning,” he said.
In addition to working with town staff and council, Minor will help lead the Silverthorne Police Department’s philanthropic efforts, including the Safe Summer Kickoff in June and the Adopt an Angel program in December.
“I was fortunate to be there at its inception,” he said of the Adopt and Angel program. “We used to assemble the donated bicycles in town hall in a spare room. Now it’s on a whole different level and scale.”
He added that he was most excited to work with Silverthorne’s community policing programs, with a few more opportunities for hands-on policing while working with a narrower jurisdiction.
“People have an expectation, as they should, that if they want to talk to their police chief, they can. We want to be responsive to that,” he said. “I’m one of those idealistic people (who) thinks getting to be a peace officer, getting that badge and taking that oath, it’s an honor. You can’t let people down.”
A community hire
Town manager Hyland said Minor officially accepted the position on Monday. He was selected both for his prior experience with Silverthorne as well as community policing.
“His experience in that area really pushes him to the top,” Hyland said. “One of the things we’ll be looking at is the strategic plan. Not just how are we doing today, but how are we set up for next five to ten years to make sure we have extra policing for the community.”
Prior to offering Minor the position, Silverthorne underwent a nationwide recruitment process with firm Peckham & McKenny to fill the opening left in January by former Chief Mark Hanschmidt. The process consisted of phone interviews, questionnaires, in-person interviews and follow-up interviews for the three finalists in April. Shannon Haynes with the town of Breckenridge and Michelle Tovrea of Cherry Hills Village assisted with the law-enforcement panel interviews.
“Silverthorne Police Department has a long-standing reputation of working closely with our residents, businesses and visitors to keep the community safe, and it’s truly a department of which the community can be proud. I know that Mr. Minor is committed to continuing and enhancing that tradition,” Hyland said in a statement. “I think it’s also important at this time to offer thanks to Interim Chief of Police Misty Higby, who stepped up to the challenge of providing leadership during a transition period and has been doing an excellent job of leading the department since January.”
Minor will begin serving as chief of police starting May 31. As for the Sheriff’s Office, an interim sheriff will be appointed to serve until this fall’s county elections. Then, a new sheriff will be elected to serve the remainder of Minor’s term, through the end of 2018.
“We will go through an interview process in close to the same way we did when John Minor was appointed in his duty as Sheriff,” Summit County Commissioner Thomas Davidson said.
According to financial records, a salary of $87,700 was budgeted for the sheriff in 2015. For the town of Silverthorne, the top salary range for police chief was set for $10,167 per month last year.
“I’ve had the privilege of working here for 12 years. I have learned a lot. I’m thankful for the people I got to work with, including our county management,” Minor said. “It’s very strange when you think about it, how I’ve only ever worked at two law enforcement agencies. And they’ve allowed me the privilege to eventually lead them both. I’m pretty humbled by that.”
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