Republican Jeremy Reed will be contending for the 22nd Jurisdiction’s District Attorney position, going up against Gov. Jared Polis-appointed DA Christian Hatfield, who was appointed DA earlier this year.
Reed moved to the Cortez area in November 2016 from Aurora, where he ran a private law firm for 10 years, specializing in family law and criminal defense.
He said Cortez has become his home, and it is a home he hopes to serve as the DA if voters should choose to place him in that position.
“It was time to make a change,” he said. “I moved out here and just absolutely fell in love with the area and the people. I love my job! I love helping protect the community and try to make the community safer every day.”
He moved to Cortez to take a job with the district attorney, and has been living in the area ever since. He shared that he has been hoping to run for DA ever since he moved to the area.
Over the past seven years, Reed said he has been working to grow relationships in the community and get to know the people he would hopefully represent as DA one day before officially running.
“I spent those seven years building relationships with all of the people involved in criminal justice process, law enforcement, other attorneys and the defense bar. I think I got positioned to do well in the position and marshal those relationships, making sure we’re doing the absolute best we can to protect our community and make it safer every day,” he said.
On Nov. 2, Reed was let go from the DA’s office after informing Hatfield of his intention to run in the election, and isn’t working in the office.
“Well, that's true,“ Hatfield said on Wednesday about Reed being let go. ”I welcome competition, but I also have to, I have to keep in mind the efficient running of the office and morale, so I reached out to colleagues and determined it was probably better for the competition to be from outside the office.“
Though Reed said he had hoped to remain in his deputy DA position until the election, he loves his job and is thankful to have worked on two big cases that recently came through the local justice systems – Garland Malcolm’s child abuse case in Montezuma County and the Ronald Morosko hunter shooting in Dolores County.
“I worked closely with law enforcement in both of those cases. I am very proud of the work the entire office did on those. It involves a whole team of people in that office who do things that helps the guy who’s going to stand up in court get the job done,” he said.
“It doesn’t start and end with the person in court,” he continued. “It starts with all the support staff and people in my office, the victim witness people, the legal assistants… they’re the people who really support us and make things happen. I think it’s of utmost importance for the district attorney to recognize those people and what they do.”
One of the aspects Reed noted as most important for a district attorney to possess is an ability to empathize with people and treat them with respect.
“It’s important to treat the victims of crime with dignity and respect and to make sure their voices are heard, and to speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves,” he said.
When asked by The Journal what he would like to work on or change after the election, Reed said he would like to continue building upon the current program being implemented in the DA’s office, while also improving and growing the program.
He spoke of diversion, the process of helping lower-level offenders and first-time offenders get treatment or rehabilitation (depending on the circumstance).
“This helps get them what they need to instead of punish them. It makes sure that they’re educated and treated as such that they’re no longer doing the things that led them to being in the criminal justice system,” he said.
He also pointed to training young attorneys and giving them opportunities to grow and do their job.
“I would love to be in a position to help anyone who comes into our office grow and learn and be equipped with the tools and skills to be a successful and effective prosecutor,” he said.
Reed also noted the differences between serving in a larger judicial district rather than a rural one, saying one challenge, in particular, is ensuring licensed attorneys want to come and stay in the area, but he said people who have the chance to learn how “wonderful” the area is will see how great it is.
“I will say one of the greatest and one of the reasons I’m so passionate about where I work is the people. The people I’ve gotten to work with are the absolute best,” Reed said.
While there are challenges to a rural district, Reed also spoke of the many positives he has found in his time living in Cortez.
“You really do know everybody to some extent,” he said. “I know most of the police force, if not all of them. It’s not the same in a larger jurisdiction, and I think that part of relationship building is so important. They know they can call me whenever it is for whatever it is. They know they can reach out to me and I’m available for them.”
No matter the results of the election, Reed emphasized he is here to stay.
“Whatever happens with the election, this is where I’m going to be. This is my home, and this is where I want to be,” he said.
When asked why voters should vote for him, Reed pointed to his experience and the relationships he has built during his time in the community, as well as giving more insight into his district attorney philosophy.
“It’s going to sound trite, but it’s ‘Do the right thing every time.’ As a prosecutor, do what’s right and best for the community,” Reed said. “Don’t make decisions based on ego or self-interest, but make decisions based on what is best for the community.”
“I think I have a track record in this community of showing that’s who I am and that’s what I do,” he added. “I am here seeking this job to do what is best for this community. I think that I’m the right man for the job and the right person for the job. I know to treat victims with respect, and I know to treat my staff with respect. Frankly, I would ask that my office be judged on the success of those people who work in my office and their satisfaction.”
Reed said he wanted members of the community to know that he is available for any questions or concerns about the election or DA in general.
He can be contacted through his new Facebook page, by phone at 303-731-6593 or through his email at jeremyreedforDA@gmail.com.
Reed’s campaign is working on finalizing a Facebook page and website where voters can get more information. The Facebook page will be able to be located under the name “Jeremy Reed for 22nd Judicial District.”