Independence County Sheriff’s Office names Batesville man Officer of the Year

By Lisa Burnett Published March 9, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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Brian Luetschwager

BATESVILLE — Though Brian Luetschwager’s six years at the Independence County Sheriff’s Office might seem a short time for him to have made a name for himself, he’s gone above and beyond the norm in his work and is getting recognized for it. He was recently named Officer of the Year for the sheriff’s office.

He started his career with the sheriff’s office in an exciting way, he said.

“My first night, I was seven hours into my first eight-hour shift, and I responded to someone breaking into a car at Walmart,” Luetschwager said. “During our pursuit, he pulled a gun on me, and I actually got into a shooting on my first night.”

Luetschwager said the suspect’s gun ended up being a BB gun.

“He was high on dope and had been served with divorce papers that day. He was probably having the worst day of his life,” Luetschwager said.

Luetschwager was hooked after his first day on the job. He serves as a deputy for the Independence County Sheriff’s Office.

“Independence County is one of two counties left in the 75 counties in Arkansas that there’s no local or municipal police department,” he said. “Basically, the sheriff’s office is responsible for providing coverage to the entire county.”

Lt. Mike Mundy, Luetschwager’s boss, nominated him for the Officer of the Year award because of the way Luetschwager approaches work and his dedication to the sheriff’s office.

“He looks at things from a 360-degree view. He doesn’t just look at it straight on — he looks all the way around it,” Mundy said. “He puts together a tremendous case file. When he comes in and says, ‘I’m going to do an affidavit,’ there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that he’s got the right guy.”

Mundy admires Luetschwager’s work ethic.

“He’s an extremely intelligent young man. He just really cares about his job,” Mundy said. “I cannot praise this young man enough.”

Mundy said he enjoys working with someone who’s relatively new to the field.

“He keeps up with the law. He doesn’t take anyone’s word that this is what the law is,” Mundy said. “[Luetschwager] wants to see things in black and white. He doesn’t automatically assume that since it’s been done this way forever that it’s the right way to do things.”

The diversity of Luetschwager’s job is what keeps him coming back each day.

“It’s something new every single day,” he said. “You never get bored with anything. Even though it’s shift work, you never know what’s going to come your way from one hour to the next.”

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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