The Clallam County Sheriffs patrol unit is in full force for the first time in years.
Sheriff Bill Benedict was all smiles as he introduced his offices six newest deputies, four of whom are local men.
Im really proud that most of the men we hire are home-grown kids, Benedict said. They have gone out and trained, kept an eye on their futures and came back to their communities ready to serve the public.
All six new hires recently graduated from the Washington State Basic Law Enforcement Academy. The academy is a 20-week course in law enforcement tactics, defense, fitness, firearms and Washington state law.
Its a pretty rigorous course and once they are finished, we bring them back here and place them with an officer for another three months so that they get the hands-on experience as well as get a glimpse of our expectations of what being a Clallam County Sheriffs deputy includes, Sgt. Monty Martin said. We have heard nothing but the best reviews for these new hires and we are proud to have them.
Deputy Andrew Wagner, from Sequim, graduated No. 1 in his class at the academy. Wagner, 31, began training as a reserve officer with the sheriffs office in 2006 and has spent his entire life on the North Peninsula. He graduated from Sequim High School in 1995.
My kids are the fourth generation on our property; we love Sequim, Wagner said. The city and its outskirts are growing and I wanted a position like this to give my kids the same type of environment I had growing up here.
Deputy Shaun Minks agreed. Minks, 29, grew up in Port Angeles and California before signing up with the U.S. Army and heading to Germany and Iraq. He is a 1997 Port Angeles High School graduate.
Ive begun to get concerns over drugs and crime, things were slower here when I was growing up, Minks said. But I have three beautiful children whom I adore and a job that I look forward to working every day.
Deputy Mark Millet, 24, grew up in Sequim, graduating from Sequim High School in 2002. The youngest son of Alan Millet, a local attorney, he spent some time away from the peninsula before deciding Sequim would be his home again.
I love it here and I plan on staying forever, Millet said. Our communities are getting larger, but I believe we can keep the experience on the peninsula the same.
Once a Forks Police officer, deputy Jim Dixon is no stranger to law enforcement but is a new addition to the county force. A 1977 Sequim High School graduate, Dixon also served as a reserve Sequim Police officer before moving to Forks.
During my time with Forks P.D., I had the opportunity to work closely with the Clallam County Sheriffs Office and other local, state and federal agencies as part of an undercover narcotics task force, he said. I am looking forward to a long and productive career as a Clallam County Sheriffs deputy.
Karl Koehler, of Spokane, graduated from Washington State University with a degree in criminal justice and sociology and hopes to exercise textbook skills from college with the on-the-ground experience hes had in the academy.
Deputy Ken Oien grew up in Southern California and Renton. Oien has a background of working on computers and as an electro-mechanical repairman.
Each of the new deputies brings a special background with unique expertise, Martin said. They are still rookies however, which means we will have them working routine calls initially and moving them up to experienced calls as time goes on.
Benedict said the six new hires bring the patrol unit to full force, the first time since 2002. Five of the six will work in the Port Angeles to Sequim area, while Dixon will continue his service on the West End.
We no longer differentiate between Sequim and Port Angeles coverage, so most of these guys will be in the East-End neighborhood, patrolling and responding to calls, Benedict said. And with Dixons addition, the West End has a sergeant and five deputies on patrol.
For more information on the Clallam County Sheriffs Office, visit www.clallam.net and click on departments.
Im really proud that most of the men we hire are home-grown kids.
Bill Benedict, Clallam County sheriff
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