Pitkin County sheriff endorses Democrat Michael Dougherty in attorney general race

Author: Ernest Luning - January 24, 2018 - Updated: January 24, 2018

Democratic attorney general candidate Michael Dougherty visits at the Denver Democratic Party’s annual Edward M. Kennedy dinner on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, at the Mariott Denver Downtown. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo on Tuesday endorsed fellow Democrat Michael Dougherty for Colorado attorney general in the November election, saying the veteran prosecutor’s “depth of experience and knowledge of law enforcement” make him uniquely qualified for the office.

Dougherty, the assistant district attorney for Jefferson and Gilpin counties and a former top prosecutor in the attorney general’s office, is one of five Democrats campaigning for the job held by Republican Cynthia Coffman, who is running for governor.

DiSalvo said his work with Dougherty on a task force set up by the Legislature to establish policies on the use of body-cameras by law enforcement officers, helped win his support.

“I had the opportunity to work with Michael in advising the State of Colorado on how it should implement the use of body-worn cameras and best practices regarding the use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement officers,” DiSalvo said in a statement.

“Michael’s depth of experience and knowledge of law enforcement make him uniquely qualified to serve as attorney general. As we continue to see an array of new practices implemented across our field, having an attorney general who understands the importance of training and significant criminal justice issues is critical to our mission of protecting the public. Coloradans deserve a public servant like Michael to serve as attorney general, I am so proud to support him.”

DiSalvo is the fifth elected sheriff to announce his support for Dougherty, who has also been endorsed by four district attorneys.

Dougherty said he welcomed DiSalvo’s backing in part because of the attorney general’s role chairing the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training board, which oversees the state’s law enforcement officers. He also said it highlights his commitment to criminal justice reform.

“Throughout my career, I have been honored to work side-by-side with law enforcement in our joint mission to protect and serve the public,” Dougherty said in a statement. “As attorney general, I intend to bring a renewed spirit of cooperation back to our law enforcement community. It is only through collaboration that we can preserve public safety, while bringing meaningful reform to the criminal justice system. I am honored to have the support of Sheriff DiSalvo, and I look forward to working with him to improve community safety and public trust in law enforcement throughout our state.”

The other Democrats running for attorney general are state Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton; former University of Colorado Law School Dean Phil Weiser; Denver attorney Brad Levin; and Amy Padden, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Colorado.

The only Republican in the race is George Brauchler, the 18th Judicial District attorney, who spent most of the year running for governor but declared his candidacy for attorney general in November days after Coffman jumped in the gubernatorial primary.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.