(Independent File Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
Sheriff Brian BeGole announced Thursday, Aug. 31, that after a two years and nine month hiatus, the Road Patrol will again include a night shift. Shown (from left) is Road Patrol Lieutenant Cory Carson; deputies Lauren Shelly, Sean Gifford, and Ryan Hall; and night shift Road Patrol Sergeant Keith Hansen, along with canine Nero. The team took the road for its first shift on Saturday, Sept. 2.
Lt. Carson commands the Road Patrol, while the four-man team of Sergeant Hansen and deputies Shelly, Gifford, and Hall will work the night shift. Per state law, night shift patrols require two deputies per car, which limits how many days the team can work. They will work 12-hour shifts, from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m., with 24 hours of coverage one week and 60 hours the next.
Sheriff BeGole moved a few of his deputies around to make the night shift addition work. Deputy Shelly, formerly a corrections sergeant, was sworn in Thursday as a Road Patrol deputy. Taking his place is Kathy McGuckin, a former corrections deputy who was sworn in as a corrections sergeant. Keith Hansen was also sworn in, as he moves from deputy to Road Patrol sergeant.
“We have been waiting for this for awhile now, so we are excited the nighttime Road Patrol is making a comeback,” Sheriff BeGole said Thursday. “This is important to the community as well, and this will help us stay in better touch with what is going on in our community. I am thankful that this Board of Commissioners has been so committed to improving law enforcement in our county. They have worked closely with us to make this happen, and I appreciate their willingness to do so.”
Sheriff BeGole noted that the county is working with 11 less deputies than it was in 1978, and that his office is doing as much as they can with what they have. He acknowledged that adding the night shift will further strain his already tight workforce, with the clerical and detective workloads probably set to increase.
Board of Commissioners Chairman Jeremy Root also attended the swearing in of the officers, and when asked how the increased workload would be addressed, he responded that the board would be open to adding an additional detective in the future, if needed.
“We have been working on this for a while now, and we are committed to public safety,” Root said. “We have been working out of a hole since our Road Patrol was laid off, but we’ve budgeted smart. The sheriff has been orchestrating most of it. We have just been making sure the monies are there, and that the numbers line up. This is big collaboration from both sides.”
Deputy Gifford and canine Nero will continue to be available during daytime hours, but their addition to the night shift will allow the county to further crack down on the transportation of drugs into the county.