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Morales: our top cop

Summit County’s top cop is to become Colorado’s top cop.

So what did Sheriff Joe Morales have to say when he learned that Gov. Bill Owens was appointing him to the state Department of Public Safety: “All the blood left my body. I was like, holy cow!”

We can think of lots of reasons to celebrate Morales’ appointment, but the one we might like the most is that an enthusiastic individual who really talks “like, holy cow,” is heading for the big time.

Or maybe it’s that the sheriff posed with an Ullr helmet to show Daily News readers how seriously he was pondering his future.

Or the easy way he donned jailhouse stripes for Jailhouse Rock this summer and played harmonica in a jail cell, clearly getting prepared to oversee the state’s 24 adult Division of Criminal Justice facilities.

All mirth aside, serious congratulations are in order for the sheriff. That he was selected to be the state’s top cop is a huge compliment to his professional approach to law enforcement and community policing.

Summit County, if it already didn’t know, has learned that its Sheriff’s Office has been well led.

What the state is getting is a man who understands both public safety and public life. Morales’ resume of community and contributions is a long one. Was it good politics to be so involved? You bet, but Morales never just shows up. He contributes.

We know the personable, popular sheriff won’t forget the traits that got him to the top – even though he credits his staff and the community for helping him get there.

Best of luck, Joe. If you do half as well as director of the state’s Public Safety Department as you have done in a quarter-century – like, holy cow! – in local law enforcement, you will have done your job well.

Now for the hard part. Who will the Board of County Commissioner appoint to fill the sheriff’s vacancy. Morales “nominated” either of his two captains, Mike Phibbs and Derek Woodman.

Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Jason Starr, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Kim Nicoletti and Martha Lunsky.


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