Droz is new Haakon County Deputy Sheriff
As of Monday, September 26, Haakon County has a new deputy sheriff. Derek Droz left a position with the Walworth County jail system to work with Haakon County Sheriff Mel Smith.
Though Droz has some experience in law enforcement, he will be taking the basic officer certification course offered at the George S. Mickelson Criminal Justice Center in Pierre. The course is free to South Dakota counties and the officials taking the course.
Droz became interested in law enforcement when he was a student at Stanley County High School. He participated in the Cadet Explorer Program with the Pierre police department. "Some of the people I talked to said it was a way to find out what you can do for the community," said Droz. "Basically, ride along on traffic stops, limited computer, observing what the officer did, all volunteer. It's what made me understand what being a cop is all about."
After graduating from high school in 1995, Droz completed studies in Utah to earn a diploma as an armed officer - advanced. He worked as a security officer in the Rapid City area, then for transportation agencies in the Pierre area. Droz continued getting experience in law enforcement in 2009 as a deputy sheriff for Hand County, where he processed papers and did some arrests. Since March of 2010, Droz has been a certified jailer in Walworth County.
Along with this, Droz has some fireman and first aid background. "I've seen my share of accidents, and they are not pretty," said Droz.
Sheriff Mel Smith said, "I'm glad to have him on board. We'll work things out as we go."
"I'm glad to be out here in the community, getting to know the area and the people," said Droz. "And, I'm looking forward to getting into the academy."
"That's one thing I want to do, is go up to the schools, talk about drugs and alchohol, just get to know the students," said Droz. "I've always been told if you don't put yourself out there, they don't come and talk with you."
The new deputy sheriff said that his hobbies and interests include bowling, fishing, hunting and target practicing. Earlier this year, he volunteered to help with the flood work in Pierre, where his parents still live.
According to the South Dakota Department of Criminal Investigation, all full-time and part-time law enforcement officers are required to be certified within their first year of employment. Certification is earned by successfully completing the courses's 13 weeks, an equivalent of 520 hours.
Law enforcement training offers four basic courses annually, certifying law enforcement officers from police departments, sheriffs' offices, tribal agencies, universities and state agencies such as highway patrol, motor carrier, Game, Fish and Parks, Department of Revenue, Department of Criminal Investigations, brand board, and special assistants to the South Dakota Attorney General. Students in the basic course receive training on police practices and procedures, legal aspects, and human/social behavior, and must demonstrate proficiency in firearms, emergency vehicle operations, use of force and defensive tactics.