Steve Nowlin, a 37-year law enforcement veteran, recently announced he is coming out of retirement to seek the Montezuma County sheriff’s post.
A Republican candidate in the November election, Nowlin retired as a master trooper from the Colorado State Patrol last month, but he told The Cortez Journal on Wednesday, Feb. 5, that his job isn’t over. He believes his skills, training, experience and leadership are needed.
“I want to turn Montezuma County around,” he said. “This is my home, and I care about the people here. I want to make it how it should be.”
Born and raised in Montezuma County, Nowlin graduated from Montezuma-Cortez High School in 1974. He then attended Trinidad State Junior College for one year before becoming a certified Colorado police officer.
Nowlin started his law enforcement career as a patrol officer for the Cortez Police Department. During his 14-year career with the department, he was promoted to sergeant and then to detective.
His municipal service was followed with a three-year stint with the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, where he served as a detective lieutenant.
Nowlin eventually ended up serving the next 21 years with the Colorado State Patrol. Starting as a state trooper, Nowlin was later promoted to lead multiple criminal investigations – including Operation Four Corners, Southwest Auto Theft Team and BATTLE. He retired as a master trooper on Jan. 31.
“I’m a professional peace officer,” he said.
Nowlin said he opted to seek the elected position because of the many challenges facing law enforcement in an ever-changing 21st century. The greatest change includes diversified communities and the various types of crimes that are being committed, he said.
“The key is prevention,” said Nowlin. “I’m all about prevention.”
“I work with everybody,” he added. “It’s essential to work with other agencies and other citizens, and my work record shows that.”
Asked about Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell’s first term in office, Nowlin said he knows he can do a better job as the county’s top lawman. The people of Montezuma County also need and deserve better, he said.
“Sheriff Spruell’s record speaks for itself,” he said.
Nowlin said he has the competency and character required to fulfill the professional duties as sheriff, adding the office is more important than any one individual.
“My job is to be a true professional, because public trust is so very important,” he said.
Nowlin said he would match his skills and expertise against any candidate, and he vowed to remain fair and honest without prejudice or vengeance if elected.
“I want there to be a clear choice for the citizens,” he said. “I want what’s best for them. If it’s legal, moral and ethical, then that’s what I’m going to do.”
A highly decorated officer, Nowlin was named the American Legion’s 1992 Police Officer of the Year, Colorado’s 2006 Auto Theft Investigator of the Year and nominated for the 2013 Attorney General’s Excellence in Law Enforcement Award, to name a few.
Married to his wife, Kathrine, for 35 years, the couple raised two children in Montezuma County, and they now have three grandchildren.
Last month, Spruell announced he would seek a second term as sheriff. He too is running as a Republican candidate.