It’s official: James van Beek is Eagle County’s new sheriff
Republican James van Beek 8230
Democrat Daric Harvey 8172
EAGLE COUNTY — This time for sure. Republican James van Beek is the new Eagle County sheriff.
After a week of signature checking and scouring ballots, van Beek holds a 58 vote margin over Daric Harvey, and that will be enough, said Teak Simonton, Eagle County clerk and recorder.
“I cannot express enough thanks to everyone who helped us achieve this success,” van Beek said. “We could not have come this far and done so much without your faith in us, all your hard work and support.”
“I am looking forward to the challenges ahead, working with Sheriff Hoy on a smooth transition of the office, and to serving the people of Eagle County,” van Beek said.
Van Beek congratulated Harvey for a “valiant” campaign.
Van Beek will replace outgoing Sheriff Joe Hoy. In 2010, van Beek lost to Hoy by fewer than 90 votes.
The 58-vote margin is also 18 votes more than the margin needed to trigger an automatic recount, Simonton said.
“I’m confident the totals will not change,” she said.
The Clerk and Recorder’s Office sent out 88 letters to voters whose ballots had questionable signatures. They received 13 responses, Simonton said.
There are three ballots with signature problems serious enough that they’re still being investigated, Simonton said.
The hand wringing and angst about voter fraud is overwrought, Simonton said.
People voting inappropriately — trying to vote with someone else’s ballots, or vote more than once — is difficult if not impossible, Simonton said.
Colorado has reciprocal agreements with 25 other states — and possibly soon to be 50 states — to keep an eye on ballots.
“If you try to vote in another state, you’re going to get caught,” she said.
About van Beek
Van Beek was born and raised in Colorado, a first generation American and the son of Dutch immigrants in a family of six kids. His parents came to the U.S. in 1957. He joined the Army right after graduating from high school. He got out of the Army in 1989 and came to Eagle County, where then-Sheriff A.J. Johnson hired and mentored him. He had 10 consecutive years with the sheriff’s office, worked the 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships, then headed security on Vail Mountain.
Under a U.S. State Department contract with the U.N., he went to war-torn Kosovo and Afghanistan and built civilian police forces to help keep peace when U.N. forces left.
He said he has worked in high threat environments, sitting at tables with the Taliban and al-Qaida.
“In Kosovo and Afghanistan, I had command positions dealing with diverse groups, community elders and people from all walks of life,” he said. “We had to learn how different people perceive things. Even police officers from different areas of the U.S. see things differently. It taught me to appreciate other points of view and perspectives.”
After Kosovo, he spent four and a half years in Afghanistan. During his time off, he’d fly home and volunteer as a patroller with the sheriff’s office, he said.
“I used it as an opportunity to expand my experience, my vision and understanding. I can bring that back here and it can be used for our community,” he said.
At the top of his list of lessons is protecting and respecting peoples’ rights, no matter what walk of life they come from.
“I’ve watched what happened when rights are taken away and when there is no rule of law or accountability, no checks and no balances,” van Beek said. “Spend a little time in places like that and it will give an appreciation for how good we have it here.”