Counties are responsible for law enforcement, which includes supporting the court system and the district attorney function, as well as providing jail facilities through the Sheriff.
The County Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer of the unincorporated areas of a county and is responsible for maintaining the peace and enforcing the criminal laws of the state. The Sheriff supports the County court system and is required to serve and execute processes, subpoenas, writs, and orders as directed by the court. The Sheriff oversees the operation of the county jail and must maintain and feed prisoners.
The Sheriff is also the fire warden for prairie or forest fires in the county and is responsible for county search and rescue functions.
County Sheriffs can also provide law enforcement for, or share jurisdiction with, a municipality through a contract for services or an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA).
State law specifies that any candidate for County Sheriff must:
- be a citizen of the United States;
- be a resident of the state of Colorado;
- be a resident of the county in which the person will hold the office;
- have a high school diploma or a college degree;
- complete a criminal history record check; and
- provide a complete set of fingerprints to a qualified law enforcement agency.
Any person who has been convicted of any federal or state felony charge is ineligible for the Office of Sheriff unless the person has been pardoned.