Colorado’s Longest-Serving Sheriff Says He’s Changed, Along With Telluride

Listen Now
Photo: Bill Masters San Miguel County Sheriff
Longtime San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters.

San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters is the longest serving sheriff in Colorado. Masters has been in office for 38 years in the area around Telluride, and he's seeking an 11th term. Right now he’s uncontested. Masters spoke to Colorado about why he’s seeking another four years as sheriff, and what makes San Miguel County unique for law enforcement.

Since he began as a deputy marshal in Telluride in 1975, Masters has watched the 1,200-square mile county go from a heavy mining area to a hippie town to a hotspot for wealthy tourists. Masters has changed too -- he first ran as a Republican, then a Libertarian and an independent, and now as a Democrat. The sheriff once called for the blanket legalization of drugs in his 2o01 book, “Drug War Addiction,” and while he’s stepped back from that, he still believes in providing addicts mental health instead of criminal prosecution