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‘Not your typical Western frontier sheriff’: Bob Braudis remembered for community-based law enforcement

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Eleanor Bennett
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Aspen Public Radio
Former Woody Creek resident and fellow Freak Power organizer Ed Bastian speaks at the memorial service for the late sheriff Bob Braudis on Saturday. The former Pitkin County Sheriff, who died June 3, was remembered by Bastian and many others at the memorial service for his community-based, restorative-justice approach to law enforcement.

Family, friends and community members poured into the Benedict Music Tent in Aspen on Saturday to celebrate the life of local legend Bob Braudis.

The former Pitkin County Sheriff gained national recognition over the decades for his community-based, restorative-justice approach to law enforcement, and was well known for his long-standing friendship with gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

“In times when the police were coming under greater and greater scrutiny, because of injustices, discriminatory and abusive law enforcement, Bob's caring and respectful philosophy stood out like a beacon of hope and righteousness,” attorney Gerry Goldstein said during the memorial service.

Braudis was first elected sheriff in 1986 and served for 24 years after voters repealed term-limits so that he could stay in office until he passed the baton to the current sheriff in 2011.

“He left us with a legacy and example, a way of being in loving and compassionate relationship with each other in service to a greater cause than his own wealth and self-interest," former Woody Creek resident Ed Bastian said during his closing remarks. “I wish that Aspen today would hear that.”

Braudis died June 3 at his home in Aspen. He was 77.

You can listen to highlights from Bob Braudis’ memorial service in the audio story above, and find the full recording here.

Eleanor is an award-winning journalist and Morning Edition anchor. Eleanor has reported on a wide range of topics in her community, including the impacts of federal immigration policies on local DACA recipients, the Valley’s COVID-19 eviction and housing crisis, and hungry goats fighting climate change across the West through targeted grazing. Connecting with people from all walks of life and creating empathic spaces for them to tell their stories fuels her work.