Vic Alton announced his candidacy for Moffat County sheriff Tuesday, pledging to seek alternative methods to fight the county's drug problem.
Alton, who is a corporal in the sheriff's office, made the announcement in front of about 20 people at the Shadow Mountain Clubhouse.
Alton is running as an independent.
The other two confirmed candidates, Undersheriff Jerry Hoberg and Sgt. Tim Jantz, are seeking the Republican nomination.
Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead is leaving office after his second term because of term limits.
Alton, who has been in law enforcement for 35 years, said his campaign platform is simple: law enforcement.
Protecting citizens and their property are his chief concerns, he said.
Fighting the county's drug problem is also one of his concerns, he said.
"We have to be extremely concerned about this problem and the burden it is placing on our community," he said.
But arresting people and putting them in jail isn't solving the problem, he said.
"We need to come up with other, alternative programs," Alton said.
That could include a drug court, he said.
Drug courts allow drug users to seek counseling under the close supervision of a probation officer instead of going to prison.
Alton has been at the Moffat County Sheriff's Office since 2000.
He also has law enforcement experience as a police chief in Washington state and undersheriff in Routt County.
Alton also worked for the International Police Task Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1998, training police officers in the war-torn country.
Alton did not announce Tuesday who he would appoint as undersheriff and said he doesn't plan to before the election.
"If I can't go at this thing on my own merit ... then I shouldn't even be running," he said.
Alton did, however, put to rest a rumor that he would appoint Grinstead to the position.
Alton said he definitely would not appoint the sheriff.
Alton was Grinstead's boss at the Routt County Sheriff's Office before the two men came to work in Moffat County.
As an independent, Alton will have to petition to get on the ballot.
Moffat County Chief Deputy Clerk and Recorder Lila Herod said Alton will have to collect 91 signatures by June 20 to get on the ballot.