SUBLETTE COUNTY – The Sublette County Sheriff’s Office recently released a video to commemorate the department’s history, which coincided with the start of the Sublette County Centennial.
The video, which was released on the office’s Facebook page, recapped its entire history, dating back even before the county’s official beginnings on Feb. 15, 1921.
Northern Sublette County was originally part of Fremont County, so technically, former Fremont County Sheriff Bob Gaylord was the first sheriff of northern Sublette County for 1915-1921. Sheriff W.S. Burch took over for Gaylord and oversaw that portion of Sublette County until the county elected a sheriff of its own. Meanwhile, Lincoln County Sheriff D.C. Oakley oversaw the southern part of what is now Sublette County from 1919-1927.
The video then introduced the first elected sheriff of Sublette County, Sheriff James Payne, who took office from 1923 until 1928. Payne was succeeded by Sheriff W.D. Holt, who oversaw the county’s department between 1929 and 1942.
Then R.S. Carlson (1943 – 1950), Harry E. Klein (1951 – 1952), Paul Pape (1953 – 1954), Morris Horton (1953 – 1970), Bob McFarland (1971 – 1974), Hank Ruland (1975 – 1978), William “Bud” Slatter (1978 – 1986), Hank Ruland (1986 – 1987, 1995 – 2005), Jack Cain (1987 – 1994), Wayne Bardin (2005 – 2010), Dave Lankford (2010 – 2014), Stephen Haskell (2015 – 2016) and the current K.C. Lehr.
The video also features the beginnings of Tip Top Search and Rescue, which was organized by volunteer gas workers between both ends of the county, and Sublette County Emergency Management. Introductions were also included for the D.A.R.E. Program, K9 units, narcotics task force and drone program.
Sublette County Sheriff’s Department took over the entire county when the local police departments disbanded in the 1980s. The Big Piney Police Department disbanded in June 1985 and the Pinedale Police Department did the same three years later.