Kochert training

Times file photo

Williams County Sheriff Tom Kochert, left, works with Deputy Ben Baldwin during a training exercise last summer at the Mose Mohre Memorial Combat Range in Bryan.

The Williams County Sheriff’s Office Special Deputies Program is alive and well, but some of the faces are changing.

Sheriff Tom Kochert spoke to The Bryan Times Wednesday in response to public concern over the personnel changes after several special deputies received notice that their services were no longer required.

“No one was fired,” he said. “It’s not any kind of disciplinary action; nobody did anything wrong, nothing along those lines at all. I’m simply exercising the right every new sheriff has to reorganize the office and structure it as I see fit. It is never easy but it is necessary. Some have been let go. Others are being re-sworn for different duties.

“Folks in Williams County expect us to utilize resources to the best of our ability and this is one small part of that. I am not disbanding or ending the special deputy program. In fact, my plan will expand its use in the county. I have already sworn two new certified special deputies with a third pending and new mounted deputies are being processed. “

He said he has also assigned one road patrol deputy to act as a liaison to the program to coordinate training events for its certified peace officers as well as its Mounted Patrol, Dive Team and Search and Rescue volunteers.

“That will be monthly for the certified officers to maintain their certification, but not as much or as often as our full-time deputies,” he said. “Most of them are already employed elsewhere.”

Kochert said his goal is to “have a Special Deputy Program that has a very definite function, clearly designed and well-trained, ready to serve.”

He wants the certified volunteers to be “cruiser ready,” and able to work with road patrol units on various projects. “You’ll probably be seeing more of them in the future,” he said.

Kochert also said there was no set cap on the number of volunteers in the program.

“It all depends on the quality of individuals interested and their ability to pass training and background checks,” he said. “We want to follow the proper guidelines when we bring them on because all deputies serve and represent the citizens of Williams County.”

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