PARK CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Police in Utah do a lot of jobs that require a lot of training, like the SWAT team or bomb squad. For some, that’s a lot more than you’d think. ABC4 learned how sheriff’s deputies in Summit County juggle their jobs, in this edition of Behind the Badge.
Learning to fight off an attacker is just one of the many police trainings deputies juggle at the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. With just 66 sworn officers, deputies each split duties to fill all the county’s specialty response teams.
Summit County Sherrif’s Office Sgt. Tim Berger said he is on about nine special teams different teams. Det. Buck Bufton said he fills multiple roles on the SWAT team while Deputy Shane Norton said he filled roles on the SWAT team and the mounted posse.
Between the three of them, they’re tied up in more than 20 different roles outside their daily duties. Each one wears a lot of different hats, both literally and figuratively.
Each team, like the defensive tactics team, requires deputies to stay current on the latest techniques and training, which means putting in extra time at work.
“I’m probably putting in between 96 (to) 110, 120 hours a pay period,” Norton said.
When asked how they juggle all the training, Sgt. Berger said it could be difficult and sometimes you can feel a little spread thin at times. However, a great support system and finding ways to still spend time with family helps make the job a little bit easier.
“I have a great support system with my wife and kids and they support the training that I do and how many hours I spend,” said Det. Bufton.
“I try to incorporate a lot of things that I do with my kids, I teach them all jiu-jitsu and so we kind of interact that way and do things together that coincide with the training I do for work,” said Norton.
When home and work schedules conflict and the kids can’t come to training matches on the mat, deputies must choose which duties to miss. Bufton told ABC4’s Brian Carlson it can be tough when trying to plan vacations, as sometimes training such as for the SWAT team can get in the way. Sgt. Berger shared a similar issue.
“I find myself missing out on things at home like most of us do. But that’s the sacrifice that we understand and my kids understand,” said Berger.
Deputies said that sacrifice for training, constantly wrestling with their schedule, pays off when they need it most.
“When you learn how to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations, through our training through our scenarios you learn how to think clearly,” said Norton.
“If I can’t bring that to the table in training and they see it out in the street they’re not going to recognize (it) in the same light,” said Berger.
“In law enforcement, if we stop learning, it’s probably where you ought to stop being a cop because it’s an evolving profession, we have to stay ahead of the game with and always evolve with what’s going on in the world,” Bufton said.
They said learning to evolve with training gives them that much better advantage when they need it out in the field.
Deputies also said it’s normal for members of law enforcement to do a couple of different jobs. In Summit County they choose which teams they want to be a part of, and how busy it makes them.
During the limited hours, they do have at home, of the deputies you met, some of them also coach their kid’s little league teams.