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Detention sergeant Dave Grandel says so long to Lincoln County jail after 24 years

April 12, 2019 GMT

After 24 years working for Lincoln County Detention Center, Dave Grandel has retired.

Grandel is a large man with a big heart. As detention sergeant, “he knew how to use his size,” said Sheriff Jerome Kramer, but he also “had a gift of communication” and “the personality to avoid confrontation.” He showed respect to others and “didn’t have an enemy in the world,” Kramer said.

All of his co-workers knew they could count on him.

“There has never been one second that Dave would not have given his life for any one of us,” the sheriff said. “We have shared many great times and times of trial.”

“The jail is a tough place to work” and only a few have worked there so long, Kramer said. “We’ve hired a lot that couldn’t make it three or four months.”

“We handle people different now,” said Kramer, with holding cells, restraint chairs and other methods, but most of Grandel’s career was in the old jail, “where you really had to be tough.”

“I don’t think the community realizes what (detention officers) go through,” said Grandel — threats of violence and inmates “coming at you.”

Kramer has worked for the Sheriff’s Office for 38 years himself. Despite new facilities and procedures, “people are more difficult than they used to be,” he said. In the past, a minority of offenses were drug related. Now he estimates that close to 90 percent are related to drugs in some way.

Grandel said there is more mental illness among inmates, too, and less respect for authority figures.

“We’ve been trying to find answers for years and it’s getting worse,” he said.

Kramer said he has seen the average number of inmates grow from about 20 in the early 1980s to about 120 today. Aside from local offenders, Lincoln County houses inmates for other counties now. Grandel was there for much of that period and adapted as things changed.

Grandel became a sergeant in 2011, and “he was top supervisor over all three shifts,” Kramer said. Later another sergeant was added because of the workload. Grandel was very dependable and would come in to work on short notice if he was needed, Kramer said.

But Grandel has gotten to know his coworkers on a personal level, too.

“We have watched each other’s kids grow up and multiply into grandkids,” Kramer said.

Grandel is “a lot of fun” and “always had a story to tell, or two or three,” Kramer said, adding, he has most of Grandel’s stories memorized.

Grandel looks back proudly on his time at the center as he looks to the future.

“I’m happy to have served the community,” Grandel said. “It was worth my time,” and now it’s time to “start a new adventure.”

“I wish the best to everyone” working for the Sheriff’s Office, he said.

Grandel looks forward to spending more time with his wife of 36 years, Joni; their daughter, Amanda Purvis; their sons Zachary and Zane; and their families. Dave and Joni have 11 grandchildren and one on the way. Part of his time will be spent hunting, he said.

It’s evident that his presence will be missed at the Lincoln County Detention Center.

“I have seen a few hundred people leave employment here during my 38 years,” Kramer said. “None have left a void so big, for so many people, as Dave Grandel.”