History of County Sheriff
Arapahoe County carries the name of a proud tribe of wandering plains Indians which claimed the land area in Colorado from
the Arkansas River north to the south branch of the Platte River. The term "Arapahoe" translates to mean "tattooed on the
chest" which was a practice of the Arapahoe Indians.
On August 25, 1855 Governor Woodson of the Territory of Kansas signed a proclamation that created Arapahoe County as a part
of the territory of Kansas. The original boundaries of Arapahoe County roughly included the eastern part of the entire state of Colorado as it exists today. E.W. Wynkoop arrived in Arapahoe County
in 1858 and was appointed by Governor Denver of the Territory of Kansas to serve as Arapahoe County's first Sheriff. Wyncoop
held office until 1871.
In 1861, President Buchanan created the Colorado Territory and appointed William Gilpin as Governor. The county seat was
in Denver. At this time the Sheriff's Office became the first county law enforcement agency in the Colorado Territory. The
new Colorado Territory created 17 counties out of the original Arapahoe County. One of these counties remained Arapahoe County
and became the first incorporated county in Colorado. The county was about 30 miles wide and included what is now Denver,
Adams, Washington and Yuma counties.
In 1902, the county again was divided into five counties. The eastern part became Yuma County and Washington County. The western
part became Denver County, Adams County and South Arapahoe County. At this point Arapahoe County ceased to exist for about a year. The county was pared down to its current size of 12 miles wide and 72 miles long, or 864 square miles.
In 1903, the "South" was dropped from the county name and it became Arapahoe County as we know it today. Littleton became
the county seat for the new Arapahoe County. Arapahoe County started construction of a grand courthouse in Littleton. Sheriff's
and their families resided next door in a house where jail cells occupied the first floor. But, in 1930 a separate structure
was built next to the courthouse to accommodate the Sheriff's Office. That building was expanded in 1950, 1956, and 1979.
Both the courthouse and jail were sold to the City of Littleton.