DEER LODGE — Gavin Roselles of Deer Lodge achieved a longtime goal in becoming Powell County Sheriff. He was elected in November to replace retiring Sheriff Scott F. Howard.
Roselles joined the Powell County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy in November 2000. He worked for a short time for the city police department during the deconsolidation, and previously in Rosebud County as a dispatcher, detention officer and reserve deputy.
His staff includes:
-- Undersheriff Kim Micu, replacing retiring Undersheriff Dale Forbes who has been with the department for 28 ½ years;
-- Senior deputy Austin Micu will be promoted to captain, concentrating on investigations;
-- Deputies Brandon Ayers, Jared Piilola and Keith Miller, who is also the detention officer; and 12 reserve deputies.
“After working with Scott Howard for nearly 18 years, it has been a nice transition,” he said. “Scott has imparted a lot of knowledge to me and I assumed a lot of the investigative duties recently. Scott has a lot of knowledge in this area and is very much respected as an investigator in the state of Montana.”
Roselles ran unsuccessfully for the office in 2014. He attributed that loss to “God’s plan,” saying he was then content to wait until Howard retired before running for sheriff again.
Roselles said there will be no immediate noticeable changes, but his first priority will be coverage and visibility, especially for the rural communities.
He recognizes the need for some changes and feels his rapport with the commissioners is good after meeting with them several times, but grapples with the reality of financial restrictions.
“Mental health issues are one of the biggest challenges facing law enforcement,” he said. “I’d like to see more services for inmates in the jail to help them get out of the downward spiral and be able to cope with their issues. It would reduce liability as well.”
He would like more staff at the sheriff’s office and will work with the county commissioners and available funding. Five officers handling everything at the office and in the county is challenging, he said.
“The Sheriff is responsible for execution of civil processing and at this time the dispatcher is completing the paperwork for civil cases, an overwhelming task which is a full part-time job,” he said. “I’d like to see someone hired as an administrative assistant.”
He wants to continue working with County Planner Carl Hamming on a geographic information system (GIS) to tie into the 911 address system, and to continue to make improvements in the dispatch center, one of Howard’s goals.
He said, “Radio reception in the county is challenging because of the terrain but Scott’s upgrades now provide the latest and best equipment so officers can communicate with each other and dispatch.”
Roselles said he is pleased that other counties are using Powell County as a model.