Serving the Loup Valley for 137 Years
Law Enforcement: Possibly The Toughest Job On Earth
Kate Wolf photo
The Valley County Sheriff’s Department: Back row (l-r): Deputy Dave Scheideler, Sheriff Casey Hurlburt and Office Administrator Ashley Eley. Front row (l-r): Deputies Chris Grooms, Brendan Molton, and Dan Howard. Not pictured: Part-time Deputy Randy Faaborg.
By Kate Wolf
What kind of man does it take to be a law enforcement officer in these contentious times? What kind of leadership skills must one possess to inspire the respect and devotion of an entire team of law enforcement professionals when so many national media-driven slurs are being hurled at those who “Protect and Serve”? Valley County Sheriff Casey Hurlburt is that kind of man. For him and his dedicated staff, it’s not just a job.
He’s a local guy, born and raised in Arcadia by parents, Dan and Peggy Hurlburt, a 1996 graduate of Arcadia High School, former football player and wild horse racer with a reputation for utter fearlessness on the derby race car track as well. He married Ann Kuda from Loup City, who shared his love of small town life, and the couple have three children: Dalton, Jasmyn and Dylan. There’s a lot to be said about a local boy who makes good and decides to remain where the lifestyle and values coincide with his own.
For many years now, Hurlburt has upheld his oath to “Protect and Serve” the people of Valley County. It’s not an easy job. In addition to enforcing the law, his tasks include court security, civil process and jail administration. All of this is accomplished with the very professional help of Office Administrator Ashley Eley, who is not only able to meet the sheriff’s expectations, but to exceed them.
There are a few other specialists on Hurlburt’s team. Deputies, Chris Grooms and Dan Howard, are members of the Special Response Team (SRT) for Valley County. It’s part of a multi-county effort where a rapid tactical response is required immediately and there is no time to wait for the Nebraska State Patrol SWAT to arrive on the scene of, for example, an “active shooter” situation. Led by the National Tactical Officers Association, these officers are highly trained and extremely skilled. Grooms is an expert with the Remington 700 Law Enforcement Sniper Rifle and serves as a sniper on the SRT.
Grooms served in the military for 11 years, 82nd Airborne Division, which included a couple of tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has nothing but praise for his current Commanding Officer, Casey Hurlburt, who remains available to his deputies 24/7. Grooms is also a firearms instructor, certified in sniper training, taser, patrol rifle, hand-to-hand combat and defense tactics in reality based training.
Deputy Dan Howard has seven years of law enforcement experience including “Desert Snow” training and has just completed additional Drug Interdiction Training conducted by Greg Goltz of the Nebraska State Patrol. Deputy Howard is a dedicated family man who is also a member of Ord Volunteer Fire and Rescue.
Deputy Brendan Molden is another specialist who can smell a potential drug bust like most guys can sniff out bacon at a Sunday morning brunch. He, too, has some serious skills which are very important with illegal drugs being one of the major crimes here in Valley County. He has “Desert Snow” training on Drug and Criminal Interdiction and is a tried and true search and seizure pro. Deputy Molden has also been certified by Greg Goltz of the Nebraska State Patrol.
“I just hate illegal drugs,” commented Sheriff Hurlburt. “They are the biggest problem we have in Valley County.”
Soon, Valley County will have a new K-9 officer of the drug-sniffing persuasion. One that will enhance law enforcement efforts to curb this illegal activity in our area. In addition, the Sheriff’s Department will now have a special K-9 Unit, a vehicle purchased used from the Kansas State Patrol. “The new K-9 Unit will really help with establishing probable cause for further investigation,” Hurlburt explained. Concerned citizens who wish to support this effort can purchase “Back the Blue” t-shirts or donate to the K-9 Fund established at First National Bank in Ord.
The sheriff can also rely upon Deputy Dave Scheideler, a retired Nebraska State Trooper with 28 years of service. He is also a retired Colonel with the Army Reserves with four tours of duty in Iraq. Randy Faaborg is a part-time deputy who has some impressive skills of his own and has nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience. He is also an EMT with over 30 years of dedicated service. Other staff members include: Justina Young, Amy Haggerty, Tiffany Soper and Sue Hurlbert.
In addition to their law enforcement duties, the staff of the Sheriff’s Office works together in various community outreach efforts such as the Stuff the Patrol Truck Christmas Drive, Halloween bags for children, active shooter training at area schools, security at local sporting events and traffic control for cattle drives.
Hurlburt has nothing but good things to say about the support he receives from the Valley County Board of Supervisors, especially at a time when so many law enforcement agencies across the country are getting slammed by the media.
“We have excellent equipment, thanks to the Board of Supervisors,” he stated. One of the most important are state-of-the-art cell phones which take the place of pagers, radios, cameras, recorders and other equipment which would otherwise need to be purchased.
While Valley County will not be “defunding” law enforcement any time soon, Sheriff Hurlburt is concerned about the ramifications should the George Floyd Act (H.R. 7120) be passed by the Senate. This Act was recently passed by the House of Representatives. Hurlburt is also a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and the people’s right to keep and bear arms.
“If the government tells me I have to take my citizen’s guns, I will deputize every responsible, law abiding gun owner in my county to make sure that doesn’t happen,” he firmly stated. Valley County Search and Rescue has now been implemented, which is a group of citizens the sheriff can call on if more manpower is needed.
For now, and for the foreseeable future, the Sheriff’s Department will continue to focus their efforts towards protecting and serving the residents of Valley County as they always have: with determination and dedication and undeniable professionalism.