By Sergeant Clair Swain
Training Sergeant, Lewis and Clark County Detention Center (MT)
Reflecting on the 23 years I have worked at the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office, I look back on this journey that started on Dec. 6, 1999, when I took a job as a jailer at the Lewis and Clark County Detention Center.
I came into this position from a career in restaurant management and had no idea what I was getting myself into.
What people may not know about this profession is that there are many hats a detention officer must wear throughout the day that he or she must be ready to change quickly depending on the variety of interactions with inmates. These hats include first responder, chauffeur, med-tech, postal worker, negotiator, counselor, messenger, janitor, security guard, mediator, librarian, plumber, laundry attendant, care giver, teacher, protector and life coach.
I write this to publicly recognize everyone I have worked with over the past 23 years and all of my current coworkers. In this difficult job we are counted on by Sheriff Dutton to maintain an orderly facility while keeping ourselves, the inmates and the public safe. We must also abide by the Constitutions of the United States and Montana and the policies set by Sheriff Dutton designed to protect all parties.
So, when you see one of us, stop to say, “Hello.” Remember too that we are law enforcement officers serving you and everyone in this community and that, regardless of what hat we have on at any given time, each of us is more than just a jailer.