Montezuma County Undersheriff Jim Kingery announced his retirement on Wednesday, after about 21 years in local law enforcement.
Kingery started his career as a patrol officer with the Cortez Police Department in 1996. For about two years, he has been second in command at the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, handling agency finances and training. Patrol Lt. Vernon Knuckles will take his place, and in turn will pass on his duties to Detective Bryce Queen, according to a Wednesday news release from the sheriff’s office.
Sheriff Steve Nowlin said Kingery was one of the first people he hired after taking office, and became an essential asset to him during the transition. He said the undersheriff helped him reform the office’s hiring procedures and background checks, which he said are “more thorough and complete now than they’ve ever been.” He also oversaw training, balanced the budget and helped with disciplinary action and internal investigations, such as the one that resulted in former Sgt. Adam Alcon’s charges of misconduct in April.
“There’s a lot of moving parts that have to be overseen, and (Kingery) did a great job with that,” Nowlin said.
In the police department, Kingery worked his way up from a patrol officer to a detective in 2005 and an investigation lieutenant in 2009, according to the news release. Nowlin said it was partly that investigative background, with the necessary organization and attention to detail, that made him so valuable as an undersheriff. Knuckles has similar strengths and experience, the sheriff said, so he seemed like the best person to take over the job.
According to the release, Kingery decided to retire in order to spend more time with his family, including a new grandchild due in August.
“Working in law enforcement can take up more of an officer’s/deputy’s time than the average occupation,” the release said. “Jim does not want to miss another precious moment of time with his family.”
Nowlin said Kingery would be missed, but he understood his decision to step back from the demanding duties of the sheriff’s office.
“He’s earned his due,” he said.