‘An esprit de corps’: Sheriff’s Office testing promotes three deputies

(From left to right) Campbell County Sheriff Scott Matheny, Corporal Ryan Undeberg, Corporal Aaron English, and Sergeant Martin Spencer pose following a promotion ceremony at the Campbell County Sheriff's Office on Jan. 12. (Ryan Lewallen/County 17)

Updated: Jan. 19, 2021

The room buzzed with anticipation as three uniformed Campbell County sheriff’s deputies mingled with their peers and loved ones, sharing a laugh here or expressing gratitude for congratulatory statements there on a mid-January afternoon.

At a word from Campbell County Sheriff Scott Matheny, who assumed his post behind the room’s lone podium, the three gathered in a line at the front of the large conference room at the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO).

They grinned at the friendly jabs from their friends and colleagues who gathered around the outskirts of the room and occupied seats at several large tables, standing proudly as family and friends pinned their new rank insignia on their collars.

Together, the three of them are the result of the most recent round of promotional testing completed in December 2021, Matheny said, and while there were many qualified applicants who put in for advancement, newly-promoted CCSO Sgt. Martin Spencer as well as newly-promoted Corporals Ryan Undeberg and Aaron English were the best choices who exemplify what the CCSO is all about.

The three of them are grounded and possess a great deal of common sense, Matheny said, which he believes will help them run the office’s patrol shifts in a professional manner that is expected every day that they put the badge on.

“You’ve heard me say it many times that this is the best sheriff’s office in the state,” Matheny said on Jan. 12. “But we can always improve. Your job, gentlemen, is to make this place better.”

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Between them, the three new promotes have 64 years of law enforcement experience with the lion’s share coming from Spencer, who began his law enforcement career 32 years ago with the Mead County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) in South Dakota before starting at the CCSO in July 2021, where he has remained ever since, per Matheny.

Sergeant Martin Spencer (right) stands as his new rank is pinned on. (Ryan Lewallen/County 17)

Over the course of his career, Matheny continued, Spencer has filled nearly a dozen law enforcement roles including that of a narcotics investigator, K9 handler, and a field training officer (FTO), among several others.

The goal now is to make young deputies into old deputies, Spencer said of his promotion, by passing on his knowledge and experience while streamlining operations on his shift.

He said that he wants to make sure those under him get their tasks done on time and that they don’t do anything that portrays them negatively in the local news.

With nearly 18 years of experience, English began his law enforcement career working as a federal wildlife enforcement officer while he was enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and came to Gillette in 2004, where he was hired on as an officer at the Gillette Police Department, Matheny said.

Corporal Aaron English (right) receives his new corporal insignia. (Ryan Lewallen/County 17)

English joined the CCSO in 2015. In his career, he has worked as an FTO, assistant tactical team leader, lead detective, lead officer, and acting corporal.

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Undeberg, for his part, has over 14 years of law enforcement experience during a career that started briefly at the CCSO in July of 2007 before he left to join the Crook County Sheriff’s Office in May of 2008 where he worked as a deputy.

After two years, Undeberg returned to the CCSO and was hired on as a deputy.

“I think we just wanted to have Crook County pay for his basic academy before we hired him back,” Matheny joked, drawing appreciative chuckles from the audience.

Ryan Undeberg (right) stands as he receives his new corporal insignia. (Ryan Lewallen/County 17)

Of his promotion, Undeberg said that it’s an opportunity to improve the sheriff’s office, like Matheny said, where he will work to mentor some of the younger deputies and set an example for them to follow.

The three of them are prime examples of the sheriff’s office’s firm stance that deputies are not above the community, per Matheny, who said that the badge his deputies wear does not give them the green light to do whatever they want. Rather, it is their ticket to helping their community and to show compassion towards its residents.

“That’s what these guys do; they’ll show compassion, they’ll want to help others out,” Matheny said after the ceremony. “I think the (CCSO) has established what we call an esprit de corps, a camaraderie, something when people come together and, hopefully, that they’re proud to be a part of.”

Editors note: This story has been updated to clarify that Sheriff Scott Matheny said “esprit de corps” when he spoke about the Sheriff’s Office promotions on Jan. 12