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Homecoming: Gillette police officers honored for response in Sheridan standoff

Gillette police officers gather at City Hall where nearly two dozen were publicly honored on Feb. 20 for their response to an incident in Sheridan. (Ryan Lewallen/County 17)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Nearly two dozen local police officers and a county firefighter were honored by the Gillette City Council on Tuesday night in recognition of their efforts in aiding the conclusion of a multi-day standoff in Sheridan.

The standoff ensued when an armed suspect shot and killed Sheridan Police Sgt. Nevada Krinkee on Feb. 13. Shortly after the standoff began, Sheridan requested help from regional law enforcement agencies, receiving aid from other counties and cities including Gillette and Campbell County. After help arrived, the standoff continued for hours before the suspect was ultimately subdued. 

Gillette Police Chief Chuck Deaton said when he got the call from Sheridan Police Chief Travis Kolstika, there was nothing that could have stopped him from sending aid. Within hours, 22 members of the Gillette Police Department’s Special Response Team — composed of police officers, crisis negotiators and tactical medics — were on the way, including Gillette Police Capt. Kelly Alger.

As the local officers loaded up, Deaton said, he gave Alger two orders: keep his officers safe and bring them home. 

“He said he would, and he kept that promise,” Deaton said. His officers — including several members of the department’s Special Response Team — endured long hours with minimal rest and freezing rain while the standoff ensued. The response and the ultimate resolution are the reasons why the local police department trains a tactical response unit, to be able to help a community like Sheridan if they need it. 

Gillette police officers stand with local City Council members after being publicly honored for aiding the Sheridan Police Department (Ryan Lewallen/County 17)

Additionally, Deaton said two officers joined a multi-agency effort to provide law enforcement services to the City of Sheridan alongside the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office and the Wyoming Highway Patrol. 

“I can’t properly put into words how proud I am of each and every one of them,” Deaton said. “Their dedication to not only our community but to every community in the State of Wyoming goes without question.”

Deaton’s words drew thankful remarks from members of the council as well as Gillette Mayor Shay Lundvall.

Councilmember Jim West said he was proud of Deaton’s team and the community of Gillette for putting together the funds to make a special response team possible, adding that he has family and friends in Sheridan who reached out to express gratitude for the local police response. He offered thanks on behalf of himself and the community. 

Capt. Wayce Waller with the Campbell County Fire Department responded along local police officers to Sheridan, where he offered aid as a tactical medic (Ryan Lewallen/County 17)

Councilmember Nathan McLeland said he was glad the officers who responded are now back home and safe. He also said it was great that the officers were able to go help another community. 

Councilmember Heidi Gross thanked the officers for their daily effort in keeping Gillette safe and their recent efforts to keep the community of Sheridan safe. 

Councilmember Tim Carsrud expressed his gratitude not only to the officers who responded but to their families as well. 

“You guys play a different role,” Carsrud said. “Without you guys, [the officers] can’t do what they do, so thank you for being their support.”

Councilmember Trish Simonson thanked the officers for their daily sacrifice, stating police officers leave their homes after kissing their loved ones goodbye without knowing whether they’ll be coming home at the end of their shift, like Krinkee. 

Gillette Police Capt. Kelly Alger shakes hands with Chief Chuck Deaton during a local City Council meeting where nearly two dozen officers were honored for their recent response to Sheridan (Ryan Lewallen/County 17)

“That officer, when he served that warrant, he probably had no idea that he was never going to see his family again,” Simonson said. “I thank you for that sacrifice.”

Councilmember Billy Montgomery, a deputy coroner, said he always felt that Gillette has the best police officers and that they prove it to him every time he works with them. 

“I get to see them in some of the worst times, and they are all true professionals,” Montgomery said. “I’m glad to say they’re in Gillette.”

Lundvall said he, on behalf of the council, wanted to thank the officers for everything that they do and that as long as he is the mayor, the city will stand behind its police department. 

“I’m so dang proud when I look across this room and we’ve got the finest first responders — the [finest] police department in the State of Wyoming,” Lundvall said. “And I’m dang proud to be able to call it that. Thank you.”

Members of the community stand to applaud the performance of the Gillette police officers for their recent response to Sheridan. (Ryan Lewallen/County 17)

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