Pitkin County Undersheriff Joe DiSalvo officially announced his intention to run for sheriff in November as current Sheriff Bob Braudis plans his retirement.
DiSalvo, who has been with the department since 1987, said he would maintain Braudis’ philosophy and approach to the department.
“You cannot argue with this philosophy and how it’s worked,” he said.
DiSalvo, 50, said he’s had his eyes on the top job in the department for the last four or five years. He called running for sheriff an “inevitable step.” After Braudis was re-elected in 2006, DiSalvo was promoted to undersheriff, where he has taken on more managerial roles in his preparation for the step up.
“I’ve been planning on this and getting groomed for this for years and I’m ready to go,” he said.
Calling his office the best sheriff’s department in Colorado, DiSalvo spoke of the department’s tolerant and humane outlook in how it deals with the public.
“We don’t hassle people, we don’t screw around with people,” DiSalvo said. “I think that’s important.”
He also said he wouldn’t be changing the department’s policy of not engaging in undercover work.
“It erodes a lot of trust in the community,” he said. “It makes us all suspicious of each other.”
DiSalvo will have perhaps the biggest endorsement in the race — that of his current boss.
“I’m doing everything I can in the next several months before the election to have the helm of this ship handed to Joe DiSalvo,” Braudis said.
Braudis, who will retire in January after 24 years as sheriff, said having DiSalvo waiting in the wings made his decision not to run for another four-year term that much easier.
“My succession planning started four years ago,” Braudis said. “If I didn’t have a Joe DiSalvo, I would have agonized more (over deciding to retire) and I might have reached another decision.”
Braudis said DiSalvo has a “big heart” and that he will “give of his own time and his own energy to any citizen who comes here with a problem.”
Aspen police officer Rick Magnuson is also running for sheriff. Magnuson ran four years ago but was unable to get 20 percent of the vote against Braudis. Magnuson has said he wants to update the department and bring in new leadership and ideas.
DiSalvo said he would change very little about the sheriff’s office, although he said he would reach out to younger county residents for any ideas they might have to improve the sheriff’s office.
DiSalvo said his familiarity and experience in the department is “certainly not a negative.”
“When I hear this change ... it’s not change for change’s sake I hope, because that’s not always good either,” he said.