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Rural area deputies ready for anything

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October 09, 2021 – Source: The Daily Sentinel – Photos and story by McKENZIE LANGE

Lost Horse Basin in Glade Park is out of sight, out of mind for many Mesa County residents, but not for Derrick Strauch, a rural area deputy with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.

Lost Horse, like many places in rural Mesa County, is barely accessible even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

“There are some places here where we have to entirely leave the county just to be able to get back to a road that takes us back into the county, and it’s usually not a fun road,” Strauch said.

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office Rural Area Deputy Program, or RAD, was introduced to the department in 2000.

It is made up of one sergeant and four deputies who patrol the county that spans 3,309 square miles from De Beque to Gateway, from Grand Mesa to the Utah border and the land and rivers in between.

As a skilled and trained rural area deputy, Strauch wears many hats in the field. On top of law enforcement calls, he is trained in swift-water rescue and often responds to search-and-rescue calls.

Strauch is a certified wildland firefighter, allowing him to arrive at a fire as a law enforcement officer and leave as a firefighter, if necessary.

At any given time in his Dodge Power Wagon patrol vehicle, you can find dry suits, life vests, ropes, chains, climbing equipment, flame- retardant clothing, hand tools, a week’s worth of food and water, and anything else he may need to respond to an emergency in the field.

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