"Sheriff Joe’ brings 25 years experience to state | SummitDaily.com

"Sheriff Joe’ brings 25 years experience to state

Jane Stebbins
Summit Daily file photo/Reid WilliamsSheriff Joe Morales salutes his deputies during an annual inspection in September. Morales, who has 25 years of law enforcement behind him, has accepted a position as director of the state Department of Public Safety. His new job starts in January.

BRECKENRIDGE – Summit County Sheriff Joe Morales hopes to bring his almost quarter-century of law enforcement experience with him to the state Department of Public Safety.

Monday, Gov. Bill Owens announced that Morales was named as the new executive director of the agency.

Morales, a Republican, was born Aug. 16, 1958, in Rock Springs, Wyo., and moved to Colorado in 1963. He enlisted and served in the U.S. Marine Corp., from which he received an honorable discharge.

He began his career in law enforcement in 1979 with the Central City Police Department and came to Summit County in April 1981.

He worked his way up in the ranks of the Sheriff’s Office, from deputy to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, undersheriff and sheriff.

In his years in law enforcement, he has earned his Class One Peace Officer certification, law enforcement supervisor certification, graduated from the County Sheriffs of Colorado New Sheriffs Academy, the National Sheriff’s Association National Sheriff’s Institute and the National Center for Rural Law Enforcement Rural Executive Management Institute.

He also completed a Federal Bureau of Investigation session and participates in at least 30 hours of continuing education each year.

Morales was first elected sheriff in 1994, and re-elected in 1998 and 2002. His current term expires in 2006, at which point he would have to step down due to term limitations on elected officials.

Morales is a member of the County Sheriff’s of Colorado, the National Sheriff’s Association, the Western States Sheriff’s Association, the Summit County Rotary Club, Summit Prevention Alliance, Advocates for Victims of Assault, Asset Builders of the Summit, Colorado Jail Association, Master Mason, Breckenridge Lodge #47, American Jail Association, Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police and the Summit Lake Dillon Optimists Club.

Morales was awarded the Summit County Rotary Hero of the Year ­ 2002, the Optimists International/Summit Lake Dillon Optimists Law Enforcement Officer of the Year and the Trooper Jason Manspeaker Award in 2002.

The Summit Daily News proclaimed a day in May 1997 as Sheriff Joe Morales Day.

During his tenure, the Sheriff’s Office has implemented the School Resource Officer Program in the middle and high schools, the DARE program at Dillon Valley and Summit Cove elementary schools, Kid Print, Explorer Program – a career path program for 14- to 20-year- olds – the Sheriff’s Youth Citizenship Awards ­ Student of the Month and youth scholarships.

He also has served numerous terms on various boards, including the County Sheriff’s of Colorado, Summit Prevention Alliance, Advocates for Victims of Assault, Summit County Rotary Club, Summit County Communications Board, Mountain Community Fair Board and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Board.

Morales also is a 4-H leader for the Summit County branch, served on the Colorado Wildlife Federation board and was appointed to Gov. Owens’ Y2K Task Force Law Enforcement Committee, the Police Officer Standards Training Board, Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Council and to the Task Force Against Violent Crimes in Colorado.

Morales, 45, and his wife, Melissa Darling, live in Silverthorne.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or


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