Tuesday was a big day at the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, as four new deputies were sworn in by Sheriff T.J. McDermott.

Public Information Officer Brenda Bassett said the four new deputies will help increase a force that has been understaffed for years.

"It's great to have those deputies sworn in and start getting our staffing up to where it needs to be," Bassett said. "We feel like a lot of these campaign promises (by Sheriff McDermott)  are coming full circle, and it's an exciting time for our office."

Bassett said at least one new deputy will be covering Seeley Lake.

"Two of the positions that were filled yesterday were vacant, and two were part of the 2015-2016 budget," she said. "We're still recruiting for two more positions, so it hasn't yet been decided who will be serving the Seeley Lake area. The community members have been asking for a long time to get an additional patrolman up there, so for the first time ever, we're able to do that."

Bassett said the road to becoming a deputy is not easy, or short.

"They'll be attending the Montana Law Enforcement Academy," said Bassett, "There's a written portion of the application, and a physical portion, it's very extensive. We're proud of the people we swore in yesterday, and we can't wait for them to hit the streets."

There has been considerable turmoil within the sheriff's office for the last few years. When McDermott was a detective and current Undersheriff Jason Johnson was the public information officer, they sued then Sheriff Carl Ibsen for political discrimination. After McDermott was elected, Public Information Officer Paige Pavalone was fired, and then filed suit against the county and the department. Former Captain Mike Dominick filed a complaint for being demoted and mistreated by McDermott, as has former Undersheriff Josh Clark.

The four deputies sworn in on Tuesday were Josh Saunders, Jordan Orr, Justin White and Sean Evans.

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