Candidate column: Doug Scherar for Routt County sheriff

Doug Scherar
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Routt County Undersheriff Doug Scherar is running for sheriff in next November's election.
Doug Scherar/Courtesy photo

My name is Doug Scherar, and I’m running for Routt County sheriff.

I grew up in Routt County and graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 1993. I began my public safety career in 1995 with the Routt County Communications Center and also as a reserve deputy with the Routt County Sheriff’s Office.

After a year in dispatch, I moved to the Routt County Jail as a detentions deputy and then to patrol 18 months later. During my time on patrol, I was a field training officer, a firearms instructor and served a year as an investigator. In 2004, I was promoted to patrol sergeant and served in that position for about a year.

I left the sheriff’s office in September of 2004 to work for the Steamboat Springs Police Department as a patrol officer. After about six and a half years with Steamboat, I returned to the sheriff’s office as a patrol sergeant, serving in that position for two and a half years before being promoted to lieutenant over patrol and investigations. I served as patrol lieutenant for four years until I was promoted to undersheriff in September of 2017. I have served in that position since.

As undersheriff, I have been responsible for all daily operations of the sheriff’s office. It has been an honor, and a privilege to serve the community I grew up in.

My highest priority is building and maintaining partnerships in Routt County. I have spent years strengthening relationships with all Routt County law enforcement as we rely on each other especially during these challenging times of being short-staffed.

In addition to working with local law enforcement agencies in Routt County, I have also built relationships with federal partners, as well as Routt County Search and Rescue, Routt County Communications and all of Routt County’s five fire protection districts.

As an administrator, I have also built close relationships with our other County Offices and Departments, having been an active participant on weekly stakeholder meetings during the COVID pandemic, and working closely with the Board of County Commissioners, who oversee the budget.

I have been very successful working with commissioners on budget issues based on this relationship of trust and respect. I also engage with and support numerous community partners such as Advocates Building Peaceful Communities, Steamboat Resort, Integrated Community and all three school districts in Routt County to name a few.

My biggest goals are to continue working toward establishing a co-responder program, continue addressing recruitment and retention, and maintaining a high level of modern and effective training for our employees.

A co-responder program will pair a plain-clothes deputy with a mental health worker to respond to calls for service where a person is experiencing a mental health crisis. After the co-responders evaluate the patient, they can plan a best course of action to get the person immediate help.

The co-responders are then able to follow up regularly to ensure the person has the resources to move through their trauma and heal. Persons who experience a mental health crisis do not belong in jail for a minor offense committed during a crisis. We must do better as a community to provide resources to address mental health wellness and recovery in Routt County.

Recruitment and retention are challenging in an area with a high cost of living. I will continue to recruit the best qualified candidates who enjoy working together with our community members to keep Routt County safe.

Continuing education is important to make sure our deputies are proficient in their duties and to ensure we are evolving toward modernized policing tactics. Some examples are Crisis Intervention Training, Anti Biased Policing and De-escalation training, all of which we train on annually. In order to provide the citizens and visitors of Routt County with the best possible service, I will continue to make training of our staff a priority.

While I enjoyed the time and experience I gained with the Steamboat Police Department, my true passion is serving all the communities within Routt County. Routt County is a unique and beautiful community that I have been lucky to call home. I look forward to continuing my service to my community as your next Sheriff of Routt County.

Routt County Undersheriff Doug Scherar is running for Routt County Sheriff.

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