by Judy Buettner
On Nov. 16, I responded to an article in the Payson Roundup regarding riding with a Sheriff's Deputy. After a brief security check, I was assigned to Deputy Colt White at 6:30 p.m. Deputy White made me feel very comfortable immediately. He gave me instructions on what I could and could not do, including when I could exit the vehicle and what to do in an emergency. He also explained all the equipment in the vehicle. Before I could receive a tour of headquarters, a call came in and we responded.
The first assignment was to a suspicious vehicle on Highway 260. On our way there, we came upon a stalled vehicle. Deputy White quickly checked to see what the problem was and if the man was OK. The driver was out of gas, but some hunters nearby had offered to help. We stopped briefly to check with the hunters who were removing an elk from the forest. We reached the area of the suspicious vehicle, but saw no one. Deputy White talked to the caller and reassured her that she did the right thing in calling the Sheriff's Department. We then drove all over the forest area nearby to check it out.
Driving back toward Payson, we pulled over a speeder. I watched Deputy White as he approached the vehicle in the approved manner and talked to the individual. I was impressed by his professionalism as he called in for necessary reports and the way he handled the situation. He explained to me what he was doing, which I appreciated.
We continued on and received word to drive to Strawberry to check out a concern. While calling in the report from Strawberry, another transmission was received about a missing person in the Star Valley area. As we drove there, I asked Deputy White how many miles he put on the vehicle every night. It was obvious to me it was going to be a lot. He said it varied between 75 and 150 miles.
We reached the command post search area of the missing person about 10 p.m. A young man had gone hunting earlier in the day and had not returned. Sgt. Craig Smith was there as was the volunteer Search and Rescue Team. Soon a beautiful tracking dog arrived and everyone greeted him. Sgt. Smith organized the team into groups to search in specific areas and kept a log of where everyone was. Teams went off on quads and on foot to search the rough terrain.
Another call came about a house alarm going off in a completely different area and we were off again. We drove fast but carefully, while keeping in contact with another deputy also on her way to the site. Just before arriving, a call was received that all was well.
We patrolled a nearby area, using spotlights when appropriate, always looking for anything out of the ordinary. At one point, Deputy White stopped to talk to some young people in a parked car. He was always respectful and courteous, but very alert. As we drove back to headquarters, we were relieved to hear that the young hunter had been found safe.
In talking with Deputy White, it was obvious to me that he is very pleased with Sheriff John Armer and his ideas and plans for the future of the Sheriff's Department. I sensed the same reaction from other staff I met when I finally got the tour of headquarters, about midnight, after driving more than 134 miles in six hours. It was a quiet night, I was told.
My "ride along" was very interesting and informative. I encourage anyone who is interested to take advantage of this program. As I went home to bed, it was with a new sense of security, knowing that Deputy White, other deputies and staff were on duty.