BY LEANN DILBECK –
Ronald Reagan once said, “Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid.” They are a very small percentage of our population yet they are the integral component of what holds order and civility in our community, and collectively, as a nation. Chief Deputy Randy Jewell is one of those faithful, courageous souls who has a deeply rooted, intrinsic protective nature, and the drive to make a difference.
Randy is a native of Vandervoort, graduating Van-Cove High School in 1997. He became a part-time reserve officer in 2006 and went full-time for the Grannis Police Department in 2007, advancing from patrolman to Sergeant. He later had the opportunity to move to the Polk County Sheriff’s Department and was appointed as Chief Deputy by Sheriff Scott Sawyer as one of Sawyer’s first official duties after beginning his first term as sheriff in January 2017.
Randy and his wife, Trina, share four children, Rebecca Harris, age 18, Jessica Harris, age 12, Shawn “Bubba” Harris, age 11, and Maddison Jewell, age 7. All are students at Cossatot River School District.
Randy described his being drawn into law enforcement like many do, as a calling, “I would consider it to be like when a pastor feels led to pastor a church. I was just drawn to this. This is what I was meant to do. I credit a lot of it to my principal in school, Gene Aleshire… I had uncles that were military… my dad was military. I had a lot of individuals that I looked up to that served.”
Randy said while he never dreamed of being in law enforcement as a child, after he accepted the call, he’s never looked back. His admiration for his fellow deputies and officers runs deep, and they all typically share common characteristics. While the nature of the job may call for them to be tough, he said most in this profession are very tender-hearted, caring individuals who would give you the shirt off of their own back.
He, like his fellow officers, have to cope and handle difficult situations, as he explained, some are so full of sadness. “Some of the sadness that we see is just real hard to deal with… because there are times that we see things and we’re around things that we can’t really do anything about… it’s the most helpless feeling that you’ll ever have… especially when there’s kids involved.” Randy will admit that 2017 has been one of the most “trying” in his career, “There’s just some cases that you carry with you the rest of your life.”
What keeps Randy motivated and inspired is what gives him the most satisfaction at the end of each shift, “It’s knowing that I can go home and know that my kids are little bit safer… and that your family is a little bit safer, and knowing that we did everything we could that day to make things better so all of our families don’t have to worry.”
Randy considers himself and his fellow officers very blessed to serve the community they do, “We are entirely blessed with our community… the way we are treated here and it’s not that way everywhere. As a police officer, it makes me very, very proud because that makes me feel like we are making that difference.”
Randy started as a patrolman and through his dedication to serve and protect has been promoted through the ranks to now serve as the Chief Deputy for the County. He was recently selected by the Attorney General’s office as the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for Polk County but Randy was very quick to share the honor with his fellow deputies, “They are just an outstanding group of guys. They are my family.”
When asked about his future goals for his career, he said quickly and humbly, “This is home. I plan to do this job for as long as I’m able.”