Garrett Wiggins: School and officer safety, combating opioid abuse among priorities | SteamboatToday.com

Garrett Wiggins: School and officer safety, combating opioid abuse among priorities

Garrett Wiggins

One of my first vivid memories as a young child is that of a tall, fit, dark-haired man sporting a flat-top haircut, sharply-dressed in a Florida State Trooper uniform. He was getting into a shiny, fast car with cool graphics, lights and a siren. The man I just described was my father, and I remember thinking, I wanted to grow up to be just like him. That was about 47 years ago.

My dream of following in my dad's footsteps soon became reality. After high school, my grandfather unexpectedly passed away, and I moved across the state of Florida to live with my aging grandmother. One morning, I saw an ad in our local newspaper for a public safety officer for the city of Quincy. At 19, with no experience, I took the chance and applied for the job anyway. To my surprise, I was offered a position with a promise I would be sent to the law enforcement academy, and on Jan. 1, 1986, I began my new career.

Garrett Wiggins

Over three decades have passed since that January day, when, for the first time, I proudly put on that blue uniform. In writing this article, I realize I have served as the elected sheriff of Routt County for almost eight years and serving in this capacity has truly been the the highlight of my 30-year career.

I have dedicated most of my adult life to public service, logging thousands of hours of training and on-the-job experience fulfilling my duties as a law enforcement professional. My career path has encompassed many positions over the years serving the Quincy Police Department, the Steamboat Springs Police Department, the All Crimes Enforcement Team and the Routt County Sheriff's Office.

The life of a law enforcement officer, due to the level of authority and responsibility, is a demanding and stressful profession, requiring a high degree of discipline and self-control. Our doors are never closed, and officers are often on duty when most are sleeping or enjoying time with their families. Officers often deal with life-and-death situations and willingly place themselves in harm's way to protect people they don't even know, always realizing that the next shift could be their last.

Society expects — as they should — that officers be held to a higher standard, and the rare and honorable qualities required to be a peace officer remain steadfast. Officers are expected to maintain a high level of integrity and moral behavior. They also must possess the mental and physical strength to adhere to and follow department policies, while honoring their oath of office. We cannot allow bias, politics or personal philosophy to influence our decisions, and we must abide by the same laws that we swear to uphold. Cops are not above the law, and those who violate the law should be held accountable just the same.

Throughout my career and as your sheriff, I have lived by these standards, and my record speaks for itself. (I would encourage you to learn more at garrettwiggins.com.) As sheriff now, and if re-elected this November, my priorities are and will continue to be:

  • Implementing proactive crime-prevention measures, in lieu of reactive policing
  • School safety
  • Officer safety and quality training
  • Combating opioid abuse and reducing recidivism.

Collaboration with stakeholders is key to success, and I will continue efforts to ensure Routt County remains the safe and wonderful place we call home.

My name is Garrett Wiggins. I am your sheriff, and I humbly ask for your vote this November and the opportunity and honor to continue to serve.

Garrett Wiggins

Routt County sheriff Republican incumbent

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