As we bring 2017 to a close, we are optimistic for the new upcoming year. 2017 was a busy year for the staff at your sheriff’s office and I am proud of their efforts to protect our citizens and preserve our way of life here in Houston County.
Whether it’s our dispatcher answering your call for assistance at 3 a.m. , the deputy that responds to your call, the detention deputy that provides around the clock safety and security of our jail, or the administrative staff that keeps the innerworkings of the office rolling forward every day, I am impressed with their dedication and their passion for their duties. You can be proud of them too.
Often times through the course of our work, we must interact with people at very low points in their lives or very tragic situations. This can be difficult and can often take a toll on our personnel as well as the people faced with the situation they are in. Regardless of the type of work you are in, there is always a human element.
We were not immune to tragedy this past fall at the sheriff’s office with our newest K9 Ray, when he was struck by a vehicle and killed. We are working through that devastation and have temporarily brought our faithful K9 Chance out of retirement to provide our K9 needs.
2017 seemed to have an uncomfortable increase in calls for service that involved weapons. The most notable incident was this past summer when two La Crescent Police Officers were shot at by two armed individuals. Thankfully that situation came to a conclusion with no officers’ injured and minor injuries to one of the suspects.
Training is an important part of a law enforcement officer’s profession. I think you and I as sheriff, can only ask our deputies to perform to the level at which they are trained. Since I began serving as your sheriff, I have made bringing realistic training a priority. We train with our local police departments, so we can all be trained relatively the same. We have increased our firearms training to include scenario based training. We are putting officers in realistic stressful training situations. I am confident that training contributed to the outcome of the shooting situation involving the La Crescent officers.
Last year, in conjunction with Houston County Human Services, we began sending staff to Crisis Intervention Training to give our deputies additional skills in dealing with mentally ill individuals as well as highly volatile and emotional situations such as domestic disturbance related calls. We will continue to bring this type of training as we move forward.
So we are optimistic about 2018 and plan to continue serving our citizens in a positive, proactive way to preserve your peace and continue to gain your trust. We wish everyone the best for this New Year.