In lieu of holding a live interview with the candidates for Montezuma County Sheriff–Steve Nowlin and Odis Sykes–we asked for a written statement. Here is Nowlin’s response. When we recieve Sykes’ it will be posted here as well. Please remember that Four Corners 9/12 endorses no candidate.
“I was raised here in Montezuma County with an agricultural and outdoor skills background because of the opportunities provided to me through Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H Clubs and FFA involvement with family support, which instilled the importance of responsibility and leadership at an early age. Before graduating from the Montezuma-Cortez High School in 1974, my career path was chosen, or rather it chose me, because of my strong desire to learn, support our Constitution and enforce the law in order to protect the innocent and serve the people in our communities that provided me all of those earlier opportunities in my life.
I attended Trinidad State Junior College and have been a Certified Colorado Peace Officer for 45 years, serving and protecting the people of Montezuma County while employed as a Patrol Officer/Patrol Sergeant/Detective with the Cortez Police Department for 14 years, Detective Lieutenant with the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office for 3 years, Master Trooper/Criminal Investigator with the Colorado State Patrol-Department of Public Safety for 21 years, Police Officer with the Mountain Village Police Department for 1 year until elected as your current Montezuma County Sheriff since January 2015.
Some of my professional certifications include, Drug and Major Case Investigations through DEA / RMHIDTA, National Certification as Master Auto Theft Investigator through the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators, several Instructor Certifications through Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training , IACP Leadership in Police Organizations Graduate in 2013, and National Command College Graduate with Honors in 2018. Throughout my career I have received numerous professional awards and commendations that include the American Legion Police Officer of the Year and Distinguished Public Service Award by the Cortez Chamber of Commerce. Some of my community volunteer activity include past president of the Four Corners Rifle and Pistol Club, Founder of the Montelores Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, President/Chairman – Jersey Jim Foundation (Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower), Master Hunter Education Instructor / Colorado Parks and Wildlife for 31 years, and 8 years with the Lewis-Arriola and Dolores Volunteer Fire Departments /EMT Firefighter, Chairman of the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority Board for 4 years, current Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training Board Member for 3 years, current Vice Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors (CCIC/CBI) for 2 years, and several local boards.
I lead by example and have brought in all available resources, providing the best public service for everyone. I have and will continue to preserve the peace, protect lives and property, uphold and support the Constitutions, and enforce and obey all of the laws of this state to the best of my ability as I have sworn to by the Oath of Office before God , fairly and equally in a professional manner, without prejudice or personal opinion, with respect for all, and most importantly… with common sense. I have been and will always be responsible and accountable for my actions and the actions of everyone in my charge.
The changes made and accomplishments that your Sheriff’s Office have achieved is many, and I could not be more proud of the men and women who serve the citizens and visitors of Montezuma County. Since elected and taking office in January of 2015, the hiring and selection process for your deputies have become more stringent with written testing, psychological evaluations combined with moral and ethical examinations, complete and thorough background investigations, and oral boards consisting of members from the community and other agencies. Deputies are selected and hired by “Character First”. All agency members are held to a higher standard, both on and off the job. All are committed and held to providing professional, compassionate and respectful service to all.
I have and will continue to provide the resources needed for the proper type of training, skills, abilities, and equipment that our law enforcement professionals need to succeed in a multitude of situations they are called upon to handle in a proficient manner, and all with being fiscally responsible to the tax payers of Montezuma County. I have revised the Sheriff Budgets which have been broken down into many separate budgets so that our tax dollars can be easily tracked by anyone and made available for all to see. Wasted tax dollars have been eliminated and new policies were prepared, updated semi-annually, and posted for all to see on the Sheriff’s Office website. I will continue to bring to our law enforcement agency, accountability and the capabilities of developing good working and long lasting partnerships at all levels within community services, schools, businesses, and most importantly…..our citizens.
The words “Trust”, “Honor” and “Duty to Serve Others” have more meaning today than ever before, and are on full display in your Sheriff’s Office each and every day. I have made your Sheriff’s Office more professionally effective and transparent. Public trust and support has made this happen. The future of law enforcement has been and will continue to be more challenging, that is why knowledge, experience and leadership matters as your Sheriff. I deeply appreciate your trust and continued support in re-electing me as your Sheriff, because together we are making a difference.”