Deputy retires after two decades


Deputy Jake Heinecke poses for his Fergus County Sheriff’s Office photo last fall.

Photo courtesy of Merrit Olson

A sunny Saturday at Big Springs Trout Hatchery was the cherry on top of 20 years of service for Deputy Jake Heinecke. It was also the setting for his retirement from full-time law enforcement.

“He has reached the pinnacle of a very successful career,” said Fergus County Sheriff Troy Eades. “At the end of May, he will have reached 20 years of service between the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office and the Fergus County Sheriff’s Office.”

Despite his decades with a badge, Heinecke’s interest in law enforcement goes back beyond his professional career and into his childhood.

“My dad was actually an instructor at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy for a lot of years when I was growing up,” he said. “I’ve always been around law enforcement.”

After high school, Heinecke went to college in Dillon. He couldn’t give up on law enforcement, though.

“I started working as a reserve deputy there [in Dillon] in 1995, and that’s something I really enjoyed doing,” he said.

Heinecke enjoyed it so much, he would have left college for law enforcement. It turned out he wasn’t the one to make that choice.

“The sheriff there would not hire me full-time until I graduated, or I would have gone full-time sooner,” he said.

Heinecke worked 15 years with Beaverhead County before joining the Fergus County Sheriff’s Office five years ago. He is also now a full-time EMT with the Central Montana Medical Center Ambulance Service, a qualification that’s been useful a time or two.

“His emergency medical skills have been a benefit to the Fergus County Sheriff’s Office from time to time,” Eades confirmed.

In return, Montana’s sheriff’s offices have benefitted Heinecke, too. Heinecke’s years as a deputy have been eventful enough to make picking a favorite moment hard.

“There’s so many, I couldn’t pick just one,” he said. “I’ve done lots of cool things, and there are a lot of people that are alive today because of me: I’ve delivered babies.”

Heinecke named the work environment as the thing he will miss the most, though.

“Law enforcement is a huge family,” he said. “It’s more of a family than most people can understand, even if they have a close-knit family. The family side of law enforcement is amazing.”

It was the family at home, however, that pulled Heinecke into retirement.

“Honestly the biggest thing right now is three kids, ages 10, 6 and 4,” he said. “They want to get out, they want to play and they want to do kid stuff.”

His years of service and his commitment will leave a mark on the Fergus County Sheriff’s Office, according to Eades.

“All of us here at the sheriff’s office wish him well in his endeavors, and thank him for all of his years of service,” he said. “Jake has just been a dedicated professional to public safety, he’s well-respected by his colleagues and I think he’s looking forward to retirement.”

Well, maybe. Heinecke has a thought or two about his retirement.

“I hope to stay on as a reserve deputy,” he said. “I’ll never truly be gone, gone.”



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