There’s no question that Sheriff Clint Lemieux has stepped into his new role at a dynamic time for Teton Valley, and the nation as a whole. The pandemic has impacted nearly every element of law enforcement and community protection, and has intensified the pace at which the community’s demographics are shifting. But Sheriff Lemieux is taking these challenges in stride.
With a sense of optimism for the future, Sheriff Lemieux has ambitious plans to continue developing strong relationships within the community, and provide Teton Valley with an improved level of law enforcement support.
Lemieux has diverse experience in regional law enforcement — from working as a jailer in Teton County, WY, to working as a patrol officer here in the valley, in addition to four years in law enforcement in Madison County — and he feels that each of these opportunities gave him insight and inspiration to move the local department forward.
He said that once the pandemic recedes, one of his biggest priorities will be finding ways to build authentic and meaningful relationships with the valley’s youth. “I’d like to be more involved in the community,” Lemieux said. “Being able to have a dedicated School Resource Officer, a youth camp for local kids with elements like archery, boating safety, four-wheeler safety, and the opportunity to get an inside look at how officers operate. I’d love for our officers to have the time to do things like stop by the schools for lunch, or coach a little league team.”
Lemieux observed that the officers on the Teton Valley team, especially pre-pandemic, have already made an outstanding effort to develop good rapport with the students of the area. Not only does this contribute to kids’ and families’ sense of safety and support in case of an emergency, Lemieux said, but such relationships are priceless when it comes to preventing substance abuse and addiction issues in youth. “There’s really nothing better than stopping the cycle of addiction and substance use early.”
Lemieux commented that while Teton Valley has not seen the same uptick in heroin trafficking and use that other regional communities have, the area does have a significant amount of meth and marijuana. “Calls for service increase every year, and they’re going to keep doing that. Luckily, we haven’t seen a ton of heroin yet, but we do see a lot of meth and problems with youth dabbling in drugs.” While Covid has impacted the ways in which Teton Valley officers have been able to pursue tips and distribution of illicit substances, Lemieux said, the enforcement of laws around these drugs is robust.
One challenge of law enforcement in Teton Valley is the large number of non-residents that traverse the community both short and long-term. “In addition to the resident population, the safety of anyone who comes through here is our responsibility while they’re here,” explained Sheriff Lemieux. “Whether they’re living here for the season to work, or just driving on our highways to their next stop, keeping them safe is our job.”
Additionally, Lemieux aims to strengthen the relationships that the Teton County Sheriff’s Office has with other regional entities in order to provide sterling service to the community.
“We’re working a lot with Family Safety Network, and hopefully we can continue to do that. We’re also in the process of talking to the cities of Driggs and Victor about reviewing and clarifying our contracts with them. Hopefully, those contracts will provide the service that they both need, and fund another deputy position.”
“We definitely need to get a formal memorandum in place with Jackson so we can help each other out more. Even though they’re in another state, they are our neighboring agency. Especially when it comes to Search and Rescue and things like that, we can help each other more, and my goal is to further facilitate cooperation.”
Ultimately, Lemieux is dedicated to leading the Teton County Sheriff’s Office into a strong, well-connected future in order to provide more thorough and excellent service to the community. His vision — for a department that is larger, more nimble, and with more time to invest in prevention work with youth — is a bright one, full of innovation and durable relationships.