CAÑON CITY – Fremont County Sheriff Jim Beicker is stepping down September 1, four months before his term expires. The four-term sheriff told employees in an email Tuesday that he was leaving for personal reasons and that it was not an easy decision to make.
In a one-on-one interview with News 5, Beicker said the needs of his family have taken a back seat too often over those years and he was ready to put them first.
“I feel all these years, these sixteen years, that as an elected office I did have to make those decisions for the office and the county and sometimes that didn’t include what seemed to be best for me and my family.”
He wouldn’t elaborate further why he is choosing to leave office now rather than serve out the remainder of his term. However, the sheriff didn’t shy away from questions about scandals that have dominated headlines about his agency in recent months. He said he has no regrets over his tenure in office.
Multiple deputies have been charged with crimes in last year and a half ranging from child abuse to evidence tampering and misconduct. The sheriff’s office is being sued by the estate of an inmate who died while in custody.
“We handled those situations that have been so public here recently, almost the same way we handled almost the exact same sorts of situations when I took office,” Beicker said.
He added that he couldn’t always speak publicly about the charges against his deputies. For example, it came out during the high profile trial against former detective Robert Dodd this summer that Beicker was the one who contacted the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to investigate his employee.
Dodd was accused of improperly keeping evidence from a cold case murder investigation in a storage locker. When he failed to pay the rental fee, the contents of the locker were put up for public auction. Dodd was convicted last month of misdemeanor charges of abuse of public records.
“I didn’t always feel that it was appropriate to get on a TV camera and talk about some of those issues,” Beicker said. “Some of them are employment issues that are protected, and still some of them are legal issues that haven’t been resolved.”
Beicker emailed the Board of County Commissioners to notify them of his resignation. Commissioner Tim Payne said the news came as a bit of a surprise.
“We didn’t see this coming, but you know, we understand he has personal reasons for that. We respect that and we’ll move forward,” Payne said.
The Board met Tuesday to discuss plans to fill the vacancy with an interim sheriff until the winner of this November’s election can assume office.
“We’re going to ask for some letters of interest. We will go through those letters of interest, I think we put a deadline of August 16th to receive those letters,” said Payne.
Beicker said he has no immediate plans to pursue another public office, but wouldn’t rule out the possibility entirely. He reiterated a line from his resignation announcement email where he encouraged employees at the Sheriff’s office to remember their purpose.
“I’ve prepared them from the day I got here that sheriff’s come and go and I would too, and that time was now, but to remember who they truly serve which is the citizens of our county.”
Commissioner Payne said he and the Board hope to hire an interim sheriff by early next month.