Walcher looks back on tenure as Arapahoe County sheriff

Republican touts boosting school-resource officers, mental health services

Posted 1/7/19

In a county where Republicans refer to their officeholders as the “Arapahoe County fab five,” Sheriff David Walcher's exit was unexpected. A long era of Republican control at the sheriff's office …

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Walcher looks back on tenure as Arapahoe County sheriff

Republican touts boosting school-resource officers, mental health services

Posted

In a county where Republicans refer to their officeholders as the “Arapahoe County fab five,” Sheriff David Walcher's exit was unexpected.

A long era of Republican control at the sheriff's office ended after the November election of Democrat Tyler Brown, a Centennial resident and then-police officer in the small, Denver-area Town of Mountain View.

Walcher, an Aurora resident, took the title of sheriff in 2014 by appointment after fellow Republican Grayson Robinson retired. Walcher touted “more than doubling” the agency's number of school-resource officers and increasing prescription-drug takebacks as a few of his proudest accomplishments.

Providing “jail-based behavioral services (JBBS) for inmates with mental health and substance abuse needs when they leave incarceration” and a “medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program in the detention facility” for substance abuse were also among his highlights, Walcher said.

Walcher said one of the sheriff's office's biggest challenges in 2018 was securing the pay and benefits necessary to remain competitive, along with the approval for more employees to meet increasing needs.

“Additionally, the work that is being done related to an aging detention facility (jail) and what we will need to do in the future to maintain what we have, and plan for a new Booking and Release Center and new jail,” Walcher said.        

The opening of a joint crime lab with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and Aurora Police Department in late 2018 was a special point of progress Walcher singled out for the year.

“It will allow all three agencies to solve more crimes and solve serious crimes faster,” Walcher said of the Unified Metropolitan Forensic Crime Laboratory. It sits on the south side of Centennial Airport at the north end of Douglas County.

In November, Brown's decisive win — by 8 percentage points, or 51.3 percent to 43.4 — came amid the much-mentioned “blue wave” washing over Arapahoe County, with Democrats also defeating incumbent Republicans in the county clerk and assessor races. In addition, Democrats flipped seats in the races for state House District 37 in Centennial and U.S. Congressional District 6.

New county officials were to be sworn in Jan. 8.

Walcher worked his way up the ranks at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office from 1988 until Robinson recruited him in 2009. As a lieutenant with the Jefferson County office, he served as the incident commander during the tragedy at Columbine High School, coordinating a multi-agency response plan, according to a news release by the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office. After student Claire Davis was killed at a shooting at Arapahoe High School in 2013, Walcher increased the number of school-resource officers in the agency from six to 13, the release said.

Asked if he'll continue in the law enforcement arena or go into another field, Walcher said he's still thinking.

“I'm continuing to evaluate my options,” Walcher said. “You haven't heard the last of me.”

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