Outgoing Sheriff Tony Spurlock reflects on a 42-year career

Hailey Lena

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock’s 42-year law enforcement career began with a conversation with a grocery store manager about his career aspirations. Its manager was married to a police officer who had contact with Spurlock. The rest is history.

Spurlock dreamed of becoming a law enforcement agent since he was ten years old. After talking to his manager’s husband, he started working as a lieutenant at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. He later turned to the investigation and became the 33rd Sheriff of Douglas County in 2015.

Spurlock will remain in the office for eight years, ending in 2022. As Spurlock comes to the end of his final term, he looks back on his career so far. As he explained, not every moment is happy.

His time as sheriff has seen many tragedies, including a school shooting, the loss of a police officer’s life, and the unexpected complications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Here in Douglas County, tragedy has befallen us, and one thing has led to another: the way sheriffs can impact public safety, how they can keep people alive, and I started to see that the Sheriff could be involved in bringing about long-term change,” he said.

One of the hardest parts of being a Spurlock sheriff is having employees intentionally disrupt the sheriff’s office. He said the other difficult part was when a police officer died of serious injuries.

“I didn’t think I had to… I sat next to the wife of the officer who had just been killed, grabbed her hand and hugged her and said, ‘I have no idea where this is going, but we I’ll go with you,” said Spurlock.

As Sheriff, Spurlock focuses on mental health, the mental health of his community and employees, and has become a strong supporter of the Emergency Risk Protection Order, also known as the Red Flag Act.

The Red Flag Act, passed in 2019, allows law enforcement or family members to request the temporary seizure of firearms from people who may pose a threat to themselves or others.

“Contrary to what someone else says, you can quote me on this, the Sheriff is right,” said Spurlock.

According to Spurlock, Colorado has never compromised constitutional rights by enacting laws.

“I know the people whose guns we took are still alive today,” he said. “They are with their wives and daughters and are productive members of society. If we didn’t do that, the chances of them taking their own life and someone else’s life is astronomical.” was high – and we can show it.”

Beyond tragedy, Spurlock is also an advocate for working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. is also the state director of

Looking back on his 40-year career, Spurlock’s desk is lined with photographs of the people who have inspired him. Pictures of young Special Olympians remind me of medals worn around the necks of great athletes.

Spurlock found himself in such a position in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 when he underwent three months of enhanced training of 50 officers from across the country and 25 international officers at the FBI’s Academy for Commanders and Officers. I looked back on the many opportunities that were given to me.

Spurlock said he continues to teach the men and women at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office what he’s learned in the last three months.

“When I go to briefings and look at these young men and women and look them in the eye, my job is to tell them that it’s all worth it, and get out there and do all that you do.” 100% of the time, after all, it’s worth it,” Spurlock said.

time as sheriff

Since its first term in 2015, Spurlock has worked with various people and counties to create partnerships and services for the community, including developing cold case review teams made up of volunteer citizens.

A doctor, two lawyers, one office worker, one woman, and four detectives meet together to solve four unsolved cases. According to Sprulock, the individual is now in jail and detained thanks to this team of dedicated individuals. The team was able to solve the Jane Doe case, the Roger Dean case, the Helen Przynski case, and is currently working on the 1995 case.

Working with the Aurora Police Department, Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, and district attorneys for the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Spurlock helped establish the Unified Metropolitan Forensics Crime Lab.

Separate from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Comprehensive Metropolitan Forensic Crime Laboratory opened in 2018 to provide rapid results to people in these counties.

“Sadly, when a woman is sexually assaulted in Douglas County and we don’t know who the culprit is, we can collect evidence directly from the crime scene and bring it to the lab, and we can track down the culprit in less than 18 months. Yes,” said Spurlock. “We can be a part of helping her recover in her life and find justice for what has been done to her, but catching this man will prevent her future.” It can also prevent crime.”

Spurlock also assembled the first Financial Task Force of Douglas County Sergeant, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Castle Rock Police Department, Lone Tree Police Department Detectives, and Special Agents of the U.S. Secret Service.

The task force found $5 million shoplifted from Douglas and Arapahoe counties by organized groups over two years. The investigation ended with eight indictments against him, the Aurora organization closed, and millions of dollars worth of products recalled.

Spurlock is also Vice Chair of the Peace Officer Standards and Training Committee. The Highlands Ranch Law Enforcement Training Foundation partners with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office to train a group of cadets. Spurlock felt that the two counties had large enough law enforcement agencies to have their own training academies.

“Douglas County is 844 square miles, 220 of which is Pike National Forest.

The Academy currently has cadets from Lyttelton, Castle Rock, Parker, Lone Tree, Sheridan, Englewood, Greenwood Village and Submit County.

retirement plan

As Spurlock nears the end of his final term, he wants to let the sheriff’s office know that his job will change daily. As the county continues to grow, he hopes the office will be more patient, more understanding, more tolerant, and able to work together to reduce crime and increase community involvement. .

Looking forward to spending the holidays with his wife and seeing his children and grandchildren, Spurlock will miss his people and community the most.

In his farewell words to the new sheriff-elected Darren Weekly and the Commandant, Spurlock said he told them to “listen when the opportunity arises.” He also said he told them to remember two things: the first is to be able to recognize opportunities. Have the courage to confirm.”

Weekly will become the new sheriff in January.

“He’s a sheriff who has the courage to think outside the box, look for opportunities to establish non-traditional partnerships, and consider different methods of law enforcement,” Weekly said.

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