backed by labor passed the General Assembly, were these laws finally repealed.
Formally called the Department of Safety, the Colorado state police were created as a war emergency measure by an act of the 21st General Assembly during a special session in the summer of 1917. The bill passed on August 4,1917, and received the governor's approval three days later. The force consisted of four companies of forty-five men and five officers each. Heading the department were a superintendent and a deputy superintendent, both appointed by the governor. Unrestricted as to powers and authority, the state police could act anywhere in the state and arrest without warrant violators of any state or federal law. 68
Since the Department of Safety was explicitly a war measure intended to protect the state in the absence of the National Guard, the law creating the force specified that it was to be disbanded at the end of the war. Nevertheless, powerful interests, including the governor, were able to keep the state police in operation and expand its activities. But the manner in which the state police went about their work generated negative and hostile attitudes among the citizens, and by 1922 public opinion had soured on the state police. The fate of the force became a political issue during the 1922 gubernatorial campaign, and shortly after taking office in 1923, Governor Sweet quickly acted to disband the Department of Safety.
The original law, however, remained in the statutes and was subject to reactivation at any time a governor so desired. This fact became a central campaign issue in 1926, and when Governor Adams took office in 1927 he actively sought legislation to repeal the state police laws. Such a bill eventually passed the legislature and on April 1, 1927, the governor signed the act repealing the 1917 law creating the Department of Safety. Colorado did not have another state law enforcement agency until 1935 when a highway patrol, restricted to enforcing traffic laws, was established.