EAGLE MOUNTAIN (ABC4 News) – It’s easy for one Utah County Sheriff’s deputy to relate to kids on their level because at 5’6′ he’s not much taller than the elementary school students he serves and protects.
Deputy Garrett Dutson’s wife told him he would never be a law enforcement officer because he was too small – and too nice. Well now he’s a Utah County Sheriff’s Deputy and he’s a perfect fit for his current assignment.
It’s a job that Deputy Dutson wanted since he was the students’ age.
“I grew up watching the TV show CHiPs, COPS, America’s Most Wanted, Rescue 911, Unsolved Mysteries,” Deputy Dutson told Behind The Badge.
“Even when I was a little kid I used to drive around and ride my bicycle on Saturday mornings and write fake tickets and put ’em on people’s windshields so it’s something that I’ve always, always wanted to do.”
But there were other endeavors before he ever put on the uniform.
“I worked as a farmer on our family farm, as a beekeeper, I worked as a private investigator,” he explained. “I was a mortician for four years and I love big vehicles so I used to drive big charter buses across the country.”
But the husband and father of eight children fulfilled his childhood dream 12 years ago and worked patrol and animal control before becoming the school resource officer for Eagle Mountain’s eight elementary schools.
He does 10 presentations a week to 6th graders talking about things like bullying, anger management and drugs.
“I just want you guys to realize drugs do affect you,” he recently told a class at Brookhaven Elementary.
“Oh the students love him,” 6th-grade teacher Lindsey Anderson said.
“He has a great rapport with the kids,” Lewis Young, Assistant Principal Lewis young added.
“We’re lucky to have him around.”
One boy was especially lucky.
“He had been suicidal and nobody really realized that,” Deputy Dutson said. “He had left a note on a teacher’s desk one day…He was going to go home and possibly harm himself and the teacher pulled me aside the next day and said ‘I don’t know if you know this but your lesson changed that kid’s mindset to where he got the help needed because of what you told him’.”
Before he heads home for the day, Deputy Dutson makes one more stop: to visit another former student. Wyatt Page is home recovering from his 4th surgery for a brain tumor.
“Hello Wyatt how are you doin’? Can I give you a hug? It’s been a while,” Deputy Dutson told Wyatt. “That’s the thing I love about you Wyatt. He always has a smile.”
Wyatt struggles not to grin.
“It means a lot to us as a family that you would take time out of your day to come today,” Wyatt’s father says. “So thank you.”
“That’s one thing I love about my job is being able to help out where I can,” Deputy Dutson replies. “Even if it’s just a visit.”
“I want the kids to understand we’re here for them,” he explains. “If we can be there to be a service, to answer questions, to comfort, whatever it may be. That’s my goal.”
Deputy Dutson tells Behind The Badge he has a packed schedule with 30 6th grade classes…and he’ll be even busier next year when Eagle Mountain open a 9th elementary school.
To see past Behind the Badge stories or to nominate someone for a future story – go to http://www.abc4.com/badge
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