Highlands Ranch Douglas County Sheriff Officers Visible in Community


Douglas County sheriff deputies are visible in Highlands Ranch—more often as goodwill ambassadors rather than law enforcers. But this is getting ahead of the story.

The county’s law enforcement roots go back to the days of the Wild West. “Life in the early days was a constant struggle because of the forbidding natural elements,” said Undersheriff Dave Walcher. “Also, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians regularly attacked white settlers.”

The county was named for U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas, Abraham Lincoln’s rival in the 1860 presidential election. The county was one of 17 created by the Colorado Territorial Legislature in November 1861, five months after Douglas’ death.

“The early justice system was rooted in the People’s Court where the accused was given a “fair” trial by the people,” said Walcher. “Sentences were carried out immediately!”

Today’s justice system is a far cry from the days of the Wild West. “We’re part of the community, not in charge of it,” said Deputy Brian McKnight of the Community Resource Unit in the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at the Highlands Ranch substation. The DCSO substation located in Town Center—at the heart of the community—opened in 2011.

Protecting citizens is DCSO’s priority. For example, deputies assigned as School Resource Officers are on the front line of protecting the community’s youngest citizens and creating a safe, secure learning environment. DCSO’s primary area of responsibility is the unincorporated portion of Douglas County, covering a large part of the county’s total 844 square miles.

Tresana resident Julie Dearien recently gave a shoutout to DCSO on Nextdoor, a social media platform that brings neighborhoods together. She headlined her post, “Love the Douglas County Sheriffs.” “I was sitting at the Lincoln and I-25 light and watched a Douglas County sheriff hop out of his car and bring a homeless man a brand-new pair of sneakers,” she said. “That’s love in action. Thanks, DCS.” Her post garnered nearly 450 “likes”, mostly with hearts!

Follow Julie’s advice and take time to thank our DC Sheriff Deputies and staff. Their kindness prevails in Highlands Ranch.


The Highlands Ranch Historical Society was honored to tour the HR Sheriff Substation in August of 2021.  Located at 9250 Zotos Drive in the Town Center area, the Sheriff Substation is perfectly situated to reach all portions of Highlands Ranch in a matter of minutes.  Opened in 2011, the station is celebrating its 10th anniversary serving the citizens of Highlands Ranch. Brian McKnight, Deputy serving with the Community Resources Dept, was our “tour guide”. 

We did not take photos of the interior parts of the station, but did enjoy visiting the inner areas and getting a real sense of the important work that is based there.  The Main Lobby is open for visitors, and includes a Weapons Permit area, a fingerprinting area, some local artwork from school children, and a secure drug take back container.

On the exterior of the building there is a monument dedicated to local fallen officers,

as well as a safe area (under video surveillance) for Internet Sale exchanges,

and Art Encounters art installations.   The street names near the Substation are honoring local officers, including Zotos Drive, named for Sheriff Steve Zotos who served 20 years (1983-2003), Deputy Zackari Parrish III who was killed on duty in 2017, and Deputy Ron King, who was killed on duty in 1999. 

Well worth a visit!   Thank you Douglas County Sheriff Officers and Staff. 

Written by Shirley Cavanaugh, Publicity Chair, HRHS