Joe Breister began his law enforcement career in 1983 as a law enforcement specialist in the United States Air Force, stationed at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. While assigned to Peterson Air Force Base, he joined the Colorado Springs Police Department Reserves serving as a Reserve Police Officer. Upon leaving active-duty, Joe was hired by the Winneconne, Wisconsin Police Department where he worked as a police officer and continued serving in the United States Air Force Reserves. In January of 1987, Joe began a 27-year career with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office as a deputy sheriff assigned to the Patrol Division. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in June 1989, and was assigned as a Patrol shift supervisor, an undercover narcotics supervisor, and the Training Academy Supervisor.
In December of 1997, Joe was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and briefly served in Internal Affairs before being transferred to the Investigations Division in March 1998, where he remained until January 2004. During his tenure in Investigations, he was promoted to the rank of Commander in June of 2001, oversaw and directed the re-investigation into the death of Daniel Rohrbough at Columbine High School and cleared 97% of the homicides investigated by the Division.
In January of2004, Joe was promoted to the rank of Bureau Chief and assigned to the Support Services Bureau, eventually transferring to the Law Enforcement Bureau in January of 2006, and then to the Detention Bureau in February of 2012, until his retirement in January of 2014. Joe is one of only two Bureau Chiefs to have ever served in all three Bureaus of the Sheriff’s Office.
Joe holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice and attended the prestigious FBI National Academy, graduating as a member of the 220th Session, in March of 2005. He has served as an adjunct professor at Colorado Technical University, taught at Pikes Peak Community College, the Sheriff’s Office Basic Law Enforcement Academy, and has made over 200 presentations to community groups. He has been qualified as an expert witness for the identification and influence of controlled substances and is a certified by the National Transportation Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) and International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) as a Drug Recognition Expert Instructor.
While attending the Drug Recognition Expert program in November of 1989, he was the first Colorado Police Officer to obtain a perfect score on the final examination and received the Derald Gautier Memorial Award as the outstanding officer in the class.
Throughout his law enforcement career, Joe has received numerous awards, commendations and letters of appreciation as well as an Honorable Discharge from the United States Air Force in February of 1989.