“What haven’t I seen?”
Gunnison County Sheriff Rick Murdie is not going to seek re-election in November, putting an end to a four-decade march through the ranks of law enforcement.
“It’s warm and fuzzy on the outside and the pits in the middle. It’s kind of with mixed emotions. This has been my life for 40 years… I’m looking forward to it,” Murdie says. “After 40-years in the law enforcement business and 24 [years] as Gunnison County Sheriff it is perhaps time for this old dog to find a new porch!”
Although Murdie was born and raised in Gunnison, he took his first job in law enforcement with a Denver police department, but soon realized life is better in the high country.
He saw what the city life had to offer and after that experience, with hopes of starting a family, he decided it was time to move back home.
“I didn’t want to raise them in that kind of environment,” he said.
After returning to Gunnison, Murdie went to work at the Gunnison County jail and soon was promoted to Undersheriff by then-sheriff Claude Porterfield.
“When I first got here this department was in the dark ages,” he said, remembering the lack of technology and the fact that the department only had one car and it wasn’t suited to the mountains. When asked what he’s seen during his tenure, Murdie said, “What haven’t I seen?”
“Officers had one car at the time, so they would drive their cars to work and they’d do their work and come back [to the department] to drive home for the day,” he said. “The Department didn’t have any four-wheel-drive vehicle, so if they had to deal with something in the backcountry they had to go get their personal vehicle.”
“I think the upgrading has been the thing I’m most proud of,” he said. “I’d put this department up with any in the state.”
As far as what Murdie would like to see coming in the future, it may come as no surprise that the sheriff would like to see a new jail built to give his deputies the security they need.
“I’m hoping this jail issue will come to a head and get done,” he said. “A jail has been needed and I would hope that whoever takes my job keeps up with it and is able to deliver the new facility to the community.”
As far as life after work, Murdie said he has two grandchildren, ages three and 11, that he has to catch up with. And where he lives now in Gunnison, he’s right between where they live in Montrose and Cañon City.
“I’ve got plans for them,” he said.
The sheriff’s post will be open for the election in November and the successful candidate will start the job in January 2011.