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To protect and serve

Rod Strait, chief deputy, Webster County Sheriff’s Office

How long have you been in law enforcement?

I was hired with the Webster County Sheriff’s Office in August of 1996.

What other law enforcement positions/departments have you served in?

I started law enforcement with the Fort Dodge Police Department in March of 1988. I have worked in uniform patrol, as a detective, a school liaison officer and in administration.

What’s an interesting fact about you that some might not know?

One interesting fact is that when law enforcement in the nation was faced with a bad image for several years, citizens pushed back against those images with letters of encouragement, cards and flowers that started coming into the LEC on a regular basis from the community. Every time I was out, citizens were thanking me and the department. Over the past several years, I’ve heard more words of encouragement than all the previous years combined. I’m sorry to see the images that we have all seen lately. Trust and respect can be lost so quickly, and earning it takes so much longer. Now it’s time to go back and earn the trust and respect.

What’s the most memorable incident you’ve responded to?

I’ll remember the Kathlynn Shepard murder longer than most. The purple ribbon still hangs in my office. I remember all the law enforcement and several hundred citizens coming in to help. People putting long hours into the search and everyone wanting to do more and more without complaint. The first day for so many was more than 48 hours.

The most tragic of events brings people together to work well with one another. I called Pastor Al to help with staff and volunteers but he was out of town training for that very thing at that time. He was in class during the day and talking to staff on the phone whenever he was needed. Who knew his incident would impact all of us the same way? He was with us through so many incidents that it’s hard to count.

What’s the best part of your day?

The best part of the day is when things come together to bring the best results possible. Things don’t always end in law enforcement’s favor, but we put our best foot forward and accept the results.

What gives you the most satisfaction in your job?

Events with the kids have always been the highlight. Santa Cops, back to school, tours, talks and just regular calls when the kids just enjoyed you visiting with them. They never asked for much, just a few minutes of your time.

What’s the toughest part about your job?

The toughest part of my job was being there for people during the worst times of their lives, but rewarding knowing you tried to do what you could do for them. I run into people that I helped over the years, and they don’t hesitate to say thanks. My overall experience in law enforcement has been great, but not without its challenges along the way.

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