Highlands Ranch is not a city, it's an unincorporated community in Douglas County. There is no city government or local police department. The governing body is the Highlands Ranch Metro District governed by a seven member board of directors.
Douglas County has a conservative leaning population and has some very interesting policies. The local school district has no teachers union. Teachers are on a pay for performance, market based compensation plan. Click here for some info on the local schools.
Dave Weaver was the County Sheriff for many years until he was term limited. He's a very nice, personable guy. So, he wanted to run for County Commissioner. And undersheriff Tony Spurlock wanted to run for Sheriff. Well, that's all fine and with both being Republicans they would probably win. However, somehow, they both took office without waiting for the election results. I still don't understand it exactly.
At the county level, there seems to be a bit or corruption. Recently, two county employees were found guilty of crimes that would put the typical citizen behind bars. But, if you are a county employee, you apparently receive a 'Get Out Of Jail Free' card.
In 2013, Sheriffs Deputy Robert French was convicted of sexual exploitation of a juvenile. Now a convicted sex offender.
Sentence: No jail time and 4 years probation
In 2014, Deputy Coroner Carter Lord was found guilty of embezzlement and fraud for stealing property from the county evidence rooms. He stole confiscated guns and sold them for a personal profit.
Sentence: No jail and 3 years probation
In both cases the judge was Vincent White. The same judge that sent people to prison for selling small amounts of drugs.
However, these are really minor issues compared to the widespread corruption and cronyism found in Denver. So, it's not so bad here.
Luckily, most elected officials in Douglas county are term limited. So, they will eventually be removed from office.