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YESTERYEAR: Saddle up and ride — the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse

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The Sheriff’s Mounted Posse of Jefferson County began in February 1952, when the initial 30 deputies were sworn in by Sheriff Carl Enlow. Enlow, a Republican who served as county sheriff from 1949 to 1957, considered the creation of the posse, along with radio communication and marked patrol cars, as his major contributions to the department.

It would not be these improvements to the sheriff’s department that Enlow would be remembered for, but his sentencing to three years at the federal prison at Fort Leavenworth for tax evasion on funds from illegal gambling.
Art Wermuth, a rancher in Conifer since 1950 and a member of the Flying Tiger Air Circus, was chosen to succeed Enlow. Sheriff Wermuth called out the posse for several lost kids, but it was the kidnapping and murder of Adolph Coors III that provided our local posse members the chance to show their worth and the value of their mounts to the FBI.
The Coors case also allowed Sheriff Wermuth the opportunity to involve the nation’s press in a theatrical arrest of Coors’ killers in Canada. Under pressure of the county commissioners and grand jury charges of embezzling county funds, Sheriff Wermuth resigned in 1962.
Leaving the politics of the county at the old courthouse, allow me to introduce the deputies who were sworn in back in 1952 and who that summer rode in their first Rodeo Parade as the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse of Jefferson County:
E.J. Alderfer: Buffalo Park rancher, builder, bus driver and Dad  (happy Father’s Day, Pop)
Andy Anderson: Kittredge stables, auto sales
Ray Bryant: Evergreen Freight Lines
Ike Brewer: Evergreen By The Lake restaurateur
Don Burchett: Troutdale stables
Frank Castell: innkeeper for hotel near the spillway
Dick Freidman: Windy Point Silverdale Feeds
Bill Hangen: Buffalo Park rancher, innkeeper and developer
Dr. John Hunt: Buffalo Park rancher, town doctor
Perry Knoll: Evergreen Conoco manager
Mel Light: Light Lane in Conifer, plasterer, builder
Jack Miles: Kittredge
Gene Liston: Liston Lodge, innkeeper
Norm Miles: Indian Hills
John Reed: Elephant Park sales
Dick Ritchey: Evergreen
Gene Williams: Wilmot Ranch grocer
Enos Wilson: Marshdale dairyman, rancher
To receive a deputy’s gold star, it was required that for no payment one would have to provide his own uniform, weapons and have two horses ready to transport when the call went out. In addition, it was recommended that you enjoyed hours in the saddle, liked an occasional poker game, and cared for your community.

Hank Alderfer, a local resident, was born and raised on a ranch in Buffalo Park. He served on the boards of the Jefferson County Historical Society and the Evergreen Park and Recreation District and is a founder of the Mountain Area Land Trust.