Sheriff’s candidate Paul Craft introduces himself

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

I wanted to take an opportunity to introduce myself for those that may not know me. My name is Paul Craft and I’ve been a Beaverhead County/ City of Dillon Resident for 35 years. My wife, Jan, and I relocated with two young children from the hustle and bustle of Salt Lake City to this quiet community in 1983 when I took a job at Paul’s Motor Company. In 1985 I was Dillon’s first ASE Certified Master Technician and became a General Motors Master Technician around 1987. Living in Dillon, the volunteer spirit of this community has always been the glue that holds it together. It inspired me to become an EMT and in 1986 I received EMT training at Western Montana College and joined Beaverhead EMS. In 1989-1990 I was the President of Beaverhead EMS. After becoming an EMT it really became evident that my passion was serving this community in a first responder capacity. In 1990 I became a reserve officer with the Dillon Police Department and in 1992 gave up my career as a mechanic and took a full-time position as an officer with DPD.

I retired in 2016 with nearly 25 years of service with the Dillon Police Department. There are many things over the course of my career that I am incredibly proud of. After completing Basic 83 at the Bozeman Police Academy in 1993 I researched and developed DPD’s first K9 Program in 1994. In 1996 I was appointed Assistant Chief of Police by then Chief of Police John Gutcheck and served honorably in that position for approximately 13 years. In 2006 I received a commendation from Senator Conrad Burns for leading a lengthy investigation in the theft of an antique ceremonial canon taken from the Beaverhead County Museum, the investigation culminated in the recovery of the canon. In 2008/2009 I applied for and received a grant from Union Pacific Railroad for bicycle helmets. All children grades K-3 were fitted with and given helmets. In 2004 I was appointed to the position of Deputy Coroner by Ron Briggs.

In 2008 I investigated a non-custodial abduction of a minor child, after a long investigation I was able to reunite the child with their custodial parent. In 2009 I received recognition from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) for this investigation. Even more rewarding than the NCMEC recognition, I recently ran into this child (now a young adult) on a family outing. They recognized me, hugged me and thanked me for having found them a decade ago. That moment was more rewarding than any award or recognition could ever be.

In 2008 I was awarded Officer of the Year by Women’s Resource Center/ Community Support Center. And in November 2009 I was appointed Chief of Police. I spent the next seven years doing my best every day to listen and respond to concerns of Dillon citizens, maintain close working relations with the City Council members, and help to create and maintain strong morale and a good working environment for the Officers of the City of Dillon. In 2014 I was presented with the Dr. Jane Helm Maddock service award by UM Western Alumni, and in 2016 I assisted the Beaverhead County Disaster and Emergency Services office with researching and applying for a Homeland Security Grant to upgrade the civil defense siren system in Dillon.

In 2016 I retired from the department. These days Jan and I can be found exploring all the amazing scenery and fishing that Beaverhead County has to offer, spending time with our children, grandchildren, and GREAT grandchildren, and working on a never-ending list of home projects.

However, my desire to serve the community is still alive and well. In 2018 I assisted the Masons with local acquisition and placement of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). I also still serve Coroner Julie Briggs in the capacity of Deputy Coroner and this spring assisted her, along with many of our first responders, in a presentation for Beaverhead County High School students of a program called “It’s Your Choice” where a reenactment of a fatal crash was performed at the Fairgrounds to illustrate to the youth the consequences of drinking and driving/ distracted driving. I also spent several hours, along with hundreds of amazing members of our community, helping with the construction of the new Jaycee Park Playground. Those hours spent working together with other citizens showed, on a grand scale, what makes Dillon a great place to live and why I have immensely enjoyed serving this community. There is no better place to live.

It is this drive for community service that has inspired me to run for the Office of Beaverhead County Sheriff. I look forward to meeting and speaking with many of you over the coming weeks and, if you’ll have me, it would be my pleasure to serve as the Beaverhead County Sheriff.


Paul L. Craft