Carbon County Sheriff ’s Department Lieutenant Josh McQuillan is to run for the sheriff ’s position after Tom Rieger announced his retirement at the end of this term.
Under sheriff Dan McJunkin is not running for the post.
McQuillan, who grew up outside Joliet, wants to carry on building upon the foundations laid down by Rieger, “putting the people of the County first, maintaining the strong working relationships with the other agencies and organizations that operate within the County, staying up to date with technology, being responsible with the budget."
McQuillan is keen to stress that the department is here to protect and serve all residents of the County, along with those that come to visit.
“We want the kids to realize we are here for them. We’re here to serve them like everyone else,” he said.
At 35 years old, McQuillan may seem young but he feels that this is only a benefit.
“I’m committed to this for many years. I have a wife and two kids, our families are from here and there are a lot of reasons to be proactive,” said McQuillan.
Rieger added that once McQuillan would have been “too young.”
“It’s not unusual any more, times are changing. In the old days, he’d have been too young, but you need a young person open to changes. A lot of older people don't like change. Josh is an excellent candidate, well trained, educated, and is good with people, with general all round knowledge. I have 100 percent support for Josh, he will do a good job.”
McQuillan has worked for four sheriffs and four county attorneys and taken a little experience from each. McQuillan credits the success the Sheriff's Department has seen in recent years, is in large part due to the employees within.
“The employees are honest, competent and have integrity, along with the strong working relationship with other agencies which allows for successful investigations,” said McQuillan.
This will continue to be a priority for McQuillan. McQuillan graduated from Joliet High School and was encouraged by then Sheriff Al McGill to think about a career in law enforcement. "It was after a basketball game and he came up and asked me. I completed the Reserve Police Officer Training in Laurel and was able to work with the sheriff's department during summers through a grant with Fish and Game. I did water safety patrols and traffic in the Cooney Dam State Park,” he said.
After obtaining his BA in Criminal Justice from Chadron State College, Neb., McQuillan graduated from the Montana Law Enforcement Academy in Helena and was hired as a full time deputy by then Sheriff Luke Schroeder in August of 2001.
Reiger, who has 43 years service under his belt, working for the Baker Police Department, Montana Highway Patrol and as Carbon County Sheriff, is confident he is leaving the department in a good place.
“I enjoyed the years of patrol, they were a lot of fun, but the most gratifying is this office. I got way more done here than elsewhere. A lot of changes were made when I came. We'd just switched over to a database style dispatch and records keeping system, and I was able to hire an additional deputy and a full time secretary. Before that I did the book work but getting a secretary allowed us to be on the road. I think I fulfilled what I wanted,” said Rieger.
“Josh was part of changing things here,” added Rieger. “It’s nice going out on the street and hear people thanking you.”
Rieger commented on the improving conviction rate and deputies being able to do the job and not rely so much on Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI).
“I think it is better than it has ever been. It's fun; people working for me that make me look good. I’m leaving it in good shape. We set a lot of goals and we completed them,” said Rieger.
Alex Nixon, Carbon County Attorney, also attested to the improvements and to McQuillan’s importance. Nixon, who recently filed for re-election, has worked with McQuillan ever since joining the Carbon County Attorney Office.
“Everyone in my office respects Josh’s abilities, and we are not alone,” he said. “ My office has received letters from the Attorney General’s Office and DCI commending his ability. Josh has dedicated himself to becoming a better officer. Josh and Tom have embraced opportunities to engage in training and education, and worked with groups like DSVS and the Beartooth Humane Alliance. Unfortunately we have more serious felony offenses. Like my office, Josh has dedicated himself to the prevention of serious crimes. We have already discussed means of preventing family violence and the programs like Children Advocacy Groups. Unfortunately, it’s not just DUIs and traffic stops. It is everything. The challenge will be how we come together to protect those in our community that most need help. There is no better way to gauge a community.”
“This area has a lot of opportunities, a lot of people come here from around the world. We want people to come here, and we’ll do our part to help them. There is a lot to offer in the whole area,” said McQuillan.
Rieger plans to fish and spend more time with his grandchildren in retirement, although he may still do some court security in Yellowstone or join the reserves in Carbon County. McQuillan, with a young family, and a house-building project is committed to the area.
"My plans are to be here. I'm committed to being here and serving the County well into the future,” he said.