County Swears In Five New Officers

(photo supplied / Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office)

The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office has five new deputies that hit the road today.

Andrew Hochstetler, Tyler Stringfellow, Mason Teel, Drew Brewton and Logan Pitts were sworn in Monday night by Kosciusko Superior Court I Judge David Cates, along with four new reserve officers in Nicholas Miller, Ryan Kirkdorffer, Cody Manges and Kyle Stamm.

“This is one of the really cool things that I get to do,” Cates told the filled courtroom.

Sheriff Kyle Dukes addressed the men and said in 1998 he was a reserve deputy sheriff.

“To volunteer your time for free and put your life on the line, it takes a special person to do that,” Dukes said, adding that without the reserve officers, the sheriff’s office would be hurting.

Then Dukes addressed his new full-time deputies and said 44 people applied and he had planned on hiring seven.

“I couldn’t get to seven,”?he said. “When I started out, I was at home and I knew I wanted to do a video about working for the sheriff’s office and I wanted to talk about God and Christianity and morals and ethics. Then my wife said if you talk about God you’re gonna get sued.”

Dukes said he knew in his mind the kind of people he wanted to hire, and those were people with a moral compass. Dukes said this group of men have just that.

Then Dukes got even more emotional and spoke about KCSO fallen Det. Sgt. Phil Hochstetler and his son who was just sworn in.

“One of the men back here has a father who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the great people of Kosciusko County,” Dukes said. He said Andrew Hochstetler came into his office and said he’d like ot have his dad’s number, which is 43-22.

“No one’s ever used that number since the day his father day,” Dukes said, visibly emotional at this point. “I prayed over this. The right thing to do was give that young man his dad’s number.”

Dukes then told the wives and girlfriends and supporters of these men that his door is always open. Dukes told them these men will need support, and if they come home at 2 a.m. and need to talk, to let them talk.

“Welcome to the family,” Dukes said. “Welcome to the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office.”

“My decision-making isn’t going to be what’s best for the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office. It’s what’s best for Kosciusko County,” Dukes said. “For too long it was the other way around. I work for you. I’m here for you.”