Off beat: Call of duty takes Dillon cop away again

M.P. Regan
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
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Dillon Police Officer Kiley Smith splits her time between the force and her committment to the Montana National Guard. Pictured with Smith are Chief Don Guiberson and Director of Operations Todd Hazelbaker. M.P. Regan photo

It’s been an eventful year for Dillon’s Kiley Smith, one that’s taken the young Dillon police officer from the stresses and perils of her regular work into the teeth of some potentially dangerous situations around the world.

In January, her position with the National Guard took her away from her policing duties in Dillon and to Washington D.C. to help with security at the presidential inauguration held shortly after the deadly protests outside the U.S. Capitol.

Then her National Guard work this summer took her to Cuba to train and help with security at the U.S. military’s Guantanamo Bay base.

“Kylie got back from her deployment, only to be deployed again for the wildfires,” Dillon Police Chief told the City Council at a meeting this month.

“I don’t think she was overly happy about it, and neither was I, but it is what it is. I think if it was in our backyard, we’d want the National Guard there, too,” added Guiberson.

“I got back from Cuba in July and got activated for fires in August, so I didn’t have much time here at home, less than a month— three weeks,” Smith told the Dillon Tribune of her brief summer stint living at home and working her regular job as a patrol officer for the Dillon Police Department.

“I got in just 10 shifts at work, which was great. I got to catch up on some of my cases and got to see the people I work with. I’d really missed them,” said Smith of the tight-knit local police force.

“And I got to see my dog,” added Smith of her German Shepherd-Akita mix named Rue.

“One day, I’m going to take a vacation and not do anything for awhile.”

For now, Smith will continue helping fight the forest fires that have ravaged millions of acres in the American West in this summer of heat waves and droughts, as she did with the National Guard in 2017.

“When I joined the National Guard, I really thought it would be one weekend a month,” laughed Smith, who said that, between her police work and National Guard call-ups, she hasn’t really had any down time since starting with the Dillon PD in 2019.

“I did go into quarantine a couple times, so I guess that counts as vacation time,” said Smith of pandemic protocols that took her off the street beats for the local police force since the pandemic hit southwestern Montana last year.

“I sure hope not,” said Smith when asked if she expected any more National Guard call-ups in the near future.

“My goal is to not leave again for awhile. I’m ready to just be back home,” said Smith.

“It’s been a long year.”