By Kay Braddock
Prairie County Undersheriff Mike Johnson turned in his resignation papers Monday, after accepting a Jefferson County deputy position. Johnson, who has been with the sheriff’s office since February, 2002, first informed county officials of his intent to leave last week, according to Prairie County Sheriff Bill Klunder.
“He’ll be missed. His training and his abilities of investigation will be missed,” Klunder said. “It’ll be a hard position to fill.”
Although Johnson won’t begin his duties at Jefferson County until August 31, his time at the Prairie County Sheriff’s office ended immediately, as he begins using his remaining vacation time.
The undersheriff position has been offered to Prairie County Deputy Greg Huber, who has yet to accept the position. The sheriff’s office has already begun the search for a new officer.
Johnson will be one of 13 deputies in Jefferson County and will most likely be stationed in Whitehall, according to Klunder, who noted Jefferson County has also purchased the drug canine Hawk.
A five-year-old black Labrador, Hawk was first purchased by Prairie County with money seized from illegal drug trafficking. The drug canine unit has brought in $20,000 directly benefiting the county since that time through drug seizures, according to Klunder.
Prairie County spent $5,200 on the drug canine unit, which includes dog and officer training. Jefferson County purchased Hawk for $2,500.
Retraining for another officer to use Hawk was estimated between $1,500 and $3,500, according to Klunder, noting Johnson was the main officer in the sheriff’s office trained to use Hawk.
Hawk was used in drug seizures in Prairie, Dawson, Custer and Rosebud counties.
Published August 19, 2009