Sheriff candidate Witte

Curtis Witte is attempting to reach his professional goal of being the Yuma County Sheriff.
“The biggest reason is it’s always been my dream since I got into law enforcement,” he said during a recent interview with the Pioneer.
Witte is in a Republican primary election battle with current Sheriff Todd Combs. The ballots are due to be returned by Tuesday, June 28, at 7 p.m. (See elsewhere for more information about the mail in ballots.) The primary winner likely will run unopposed in November, as there is not a Democrat candidate, and no one has indicated a desire to go the petition route this summer to run as an unaffiliated candidate.
Witte said he has decided to make a run for it now because he and his family are in a good place to do it. Currently a sergeant with the Yuma Police Department, he went to the police academy Yuma Police Chief Jerry Thompson. He said he visited with the chief prior to announcing late last year his decision to run for sheriff. Witte said the chief told him to go for it, and he would still have a job if the election went against him.
Witte is a 2003 Wray High School graduate. He and his wife Erin have two children, Tessa, age 4, and five-month-old Tucker.
The candidate has been involved emergency services since high school. He is a certified EMT, and has taught first responder and EMT classes through NJC and MCC. He was a dispatcher at W-Y Combined Communications Center, which he said is what sparked his interest in law enforcement.
Witte has been in law enforcement since 2007. He has worked for different departments, including the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office, and has been with the YPD for the past several years.
He also is a member of the Yuma Volunteer Fire Department, currently serving as assistant chief.
While in law enforcement, he has attended many different classes to expand my knowledge and have become a certified instructor in many different areas to include firearms (pistol, rifle, and shotgun), a POST certified driving instructor, tactical medical instructor, and an active threat (shooter) instructor.
If elected, Witte said he really wants to increase the visibility of the sheriff’s department. He said he would like to have the deputies visible throughout the county, and would like the patrol cars to have high visibility.
“I want everyone to know we’re out there,” he said. “I would like to be more out at public events just interacting with people, community policing.”
Witte said he would like to see the YCSO involved with the schools, particularly in regards to educating the youth about the potential pitfalls of social media. “I’ve had more Snap Chat cases in the last year than ever before,” he noted, referring to inappropriate behavior on social media.
Speaking of the schools, he is a chair of the Yuma Schools Safety Committee. His work has included revising evacuation plans in the school and what to do if there is an active shooter in a school.
Witte said he would take the school safety effort countywide to all the schools if he becomes sheriff.
“Safety of our communities has always been my number one priority, and through my active threat instructor certification, I have been able to teach numerous agencies in both Washington and Yuma counties on how to respond to an active threat,” he said. “I also planned several exercises for Yuma schools, as well as Yuma and Wray hospitals.”
Combating the drug situation in the county will be a top priority if elected, Witte said. He noted that drug laws have become lax, such as possessing four grams or less of any drug — except fetanyl is now a misdemeanor. However, he said even the misdemeanor possession cases need to be charged.
“Whether a misdemeanor or a felony, it needs to be charged,” he said.
Witte explained that by combating the drug problem, it will impact thefts and other crimes.
He said another focus if elected sheriff is working more with other law enforcement agencies.
Witte said he helped spearhead the development of the Northeast Colorado Major Crimes Task Force, and currently serves as its coordinator. Several area agencies are a part of the task force, but the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office is not. Witte said the YCSO would join it on “Day One” if elected.
The task force was put together before COVID hit, then was put aside for a bit but now is going again and has expanded to more agencies.
Members from each participating agency sit on the task force. It has not been used yet, but it would be activated for situations such as an officer-involved shooting, and any other major crime an agency needs help with investigating.
Witte noted he has investigated numerous major crimes through the years, including murder, attempted murder, sex assaults on both adults and children, and several drug cases. He also is coordinator of the Field Training Observation program for the YPD. He said he also has experience with budgets as he has worked with Chief Thompson in writing and maintaining the YPD budget.