Van Beek: It’s your future, make it count |

Van Beek: It’s your future, make it count

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

As we prepare for life, we are filled with hopes, dreams, and inspiration. We all want to make the world a better place. Yet, we sometimes don’t realize that making the world better begins within our own community. 

Being a leader is about helping others to achieve their dreams. Those dreams are secured by people who are willing to step up and be the silent support of their neighbors, friends, and those within the community that they haven’t even met.

Sometimes that leadership position is where you least expect it. The responsibility of leading comes from understanding that we all have strengths, and during times of weakness, we have someone strong to rely upon. Training to be that strength for an entire community is one of the greatest honors you will ever experience.

The members of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office are privileged to be amongst those who others can turn to in times of need. We are the ones who comfort those going through trauma, the ones who protect children and the vulnerable, the ones who continue to be concerned about people’s hardships and attempt to discover solutions, even long after we’ve left the office. We are the people who make a difference in the world, one person at a time. We are people just like you.

Choosing a life in law enforcement is a bit like being the superhero you admired as a kid … we show up when unexpected events happen that cause fear or create uncertainty.  We bring order to the scene and help everyone to feel safe and secure. We get rid of the bad guys and still make time to share a kind word. We help to make this place where we can all live the lifestyle we love. It’s a place where friends become extended family and where we can enjoy the beauty and serenity of this little slice of heaven that we call home. 

As we experience our first snowfall of the season, we realize that living in a skiing community provides many winter jobs, however, few actual career opportunities. It’s a place where professionals gather to work on a shared ideal, and it doesn’t end with the melting of snow. Year-round we meet and help both guests and residents across our incredible communities. 

Working for the Sheriff’s Office is an honor, and we are currently seeking people to join us whose inner desire to fulfill that need, to change the world, can wait no longer. We have many different positions that can make use of a variety of talents. 

While there are certainly situations that resemble cop shows on TV, a majority of our work is rather routine, and directly involved in community engagement activities. You will see our deputies at schools and charitable events. They will be the ones chatting with a troubled teen or showing a young child how the lights and sirens work. They will help an elderly patient find his or her way home. They will be the ones coaching a local basketball game or challenging someone to a bicycle race. It’s not unusual for them to help a family locate a missing pet or give a lift to a stranded motorist. 

When someone is feeling alone and contemplating a desperate move, it is often someone in law enforcement who will guide them beyond that feeling of hopelessness and direct them towards the support of family or medical assistance. They are the first responders in times of crisis, but they will also be there to help pick up the pieces. 

A career at the Sheriff’s Office has many perks, which are not traditionally available with most local jobs. In addition to a highly competitive salary, there are retirement benefits, health insurance, paid vacations, educational opportunities, and continued training. There is a strong camaraderie among those who serve, these brave men and women will become as close to you as any family member. You will know that every day at work, you are making a huge difference in the lives of those around you, including actually saving some. 

Dare to be different … dare to serve … dare to release the inner hero. 

There are multiple law enforcement agencies, from your neighborhood to the federal level, who would be so excited to bring you on board. Check out their websites and begin a conversation, perhaps starting with your local police department or Sheriff’s Office. You know you’ve got what it takes.

As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

James van Beek is the Eagle County sheriff. You can reach him at

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