- Your Town
Dillon PD to full staff with Horrock’s hire
The Dillon Police Department returned to full strength for the first time this year with the arrival of a new police officer last week following last month’s return of a local officer from a lengthy, out-of-town training.
Joe Horrocks gained the unanimous consent of the Dillon City Council at its May 1 meeting and was sworn in moments later as Dillon’s newest police officer by Mayor Marty Malesich.
“I like helping people—that’s the biggest reason I wanted to become a police officer and why I enjoy the job,” said Horrocks, who served about a year as a reserve police officer in Dillon before being hired.
“I think he’s a good fit for our office,” said Dillon Police Chief Paul Craft. “Joe is very personable and level-headed. He makes sound decisions when he has to.”
A native of Blackfoot, Idaho, Horrocks said he served on active duty in the U.S. Army for over eight years before transitioning to military reserve duty in 2008.
“As soon as I got out of Army I went to school and got a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice,” recalled Horrocks, 35.
Prior to joining the Dillon Police Department, Horrocks worked for six months as a detention officer for Beaverhead County and three years as a team leader for the Montana Youth ChalleNGe Academy, where he oversaw a crew of eight drill instructors.
“I like working with kids. I learned a lot over at Youth ChalleNGe,” said Horrocks, whose three young sons attended his swearing in ceremony at the City Council meeting.
“You really learn a lot over there about dealing with different types of kids, some with challenging personalities. If you can deal with them, you’ll have an edge in certain situations.”
“I’m an outdoors kind of guy,” said Horrocks, who has been married to Jennifer for seven years. “I like hunting, fishing and camping. I really enjoy getting up into the Pioneers for that sort of thing.”
The hiring of Horrocks should free up more time to pursue recreational activities for his fellow Dillon police officers, who have had to work hard to compensate for the understaffing on their police force since the unexpected resignation of longtime Dillon policeman Ken Breen on Feb. 5.
The city could not afford to hire another officer until last week due to the lump sum payment it owed Breen, who, by contract, was due a quarter of the pay from all the sick days, comp days and vacation days he did not use during his almost two decades on the force.
“He had quite a bit saved up,” said Craft.
The Dillon Police Department had taken a temporary hit around the first of the year when Jeremy Alvarez, who joined the force on July 1, went to the Montana Law Enforcement Academy in Helena for the three months of intensive training that new police officers in Montana are required to receive under state law.
Craft said the situation necessitated some adjustments and sacrifices to help cover the nearly three-month shortfall in manpower.
“I ended up having Assistant Chief Don Guiberson move into that scheduled rotation spot as a patrolman and made some other changes to ensure continued 24/7 coverage on the streets and to keep our administrative offices going,” said Craft.
“I thank everyone in the Dillon Police Department for their support and sacrifices to help get us through these difficult times.”