Sheriff swears in six new deputies, promotes one to sergeant

Jefferson County swearing-in

Jefferson County Sheriff Mitch Woods swore in six new deputies and promoted a veteran peace officer during a ceremony at the Jefferson County Jail on March 10.

Trent Ikner, Derrick Hill, Lester Reeves, Kenneth Harrell, Lim Nguyen and Todd Guidry were sworn in Thursday morning. Five of the new deputies serve as corrections officers at the jail, and one is a Reserve Deputy with the sheriff's office. All now hold the title Deputy Sheriff.

Before the swearing-in, Sheriff Woods recognized the officers' efforts to achieve their new level of service.

"What you are about to witness is the culmination of some real hard work," Sheriff Woods said addressing friends, family and colleagues of the deputies. 

After they were sworn in and family members called forward to pin new insignias onto their lapels, the sheriff spoke directly to the deputies.

"You have just taken on a responsibility, an awesome responsibility, and I think it's one that is quite often overlooked," he cautioned. "The authority that you have is authority no one else in the country has - to take away someone's liberty... Judges don't have that authority. They don't want it."

The decision to take away someone's liberty us not to be taken lightly, said Woods, and neither are the "split-second decisions" the officers will be faced with in their new careers. 

"I appreciate you for taking (the responsibility)," Woods said. 

Deputy Dustin Unruh, who has served with the sheriff's office for four-and-a-half years, was promoted the rank of sergeant. Woods stressed Unruh would also be trusted with immense responsibility in his new leadership role. 

"You have the responsibility of looking after the guys working under your supervision," said Woods. "Your job is to take care of those folks."

Unruh thanked the sheriff for the promotion, and said he could not have done it alone.

"There are a lot of guys here who helped me get here," said Unruh. "Thanks for being here."

Koneka Hill, wife of newly sworn in officer Derrick Hill, was present at the ceremony with their daughter Aviana. She said she was pleased with her husband's accomplishment.

"I'm very proud of him," she said at the ceremony.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is an equal opportunity employer. To learn about open positions, call (409) 726-2521 or (409) 720-4002.