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News Release from: Clackamas Co. Sheriff's Office
Posted: April 2, 2014, 11:32 a.m.

Media and Interested Parties

Aircraft-carrier friendship leads to much-needed Sheriff's Office laptop donation

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A friendship on an aircraft carrier led to a donation of laptop computers by the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

That donation will help a rural Montana sheriff's office write reports from the road for the first time.

On Jan. 31, 2014, Sweet Grass County Sheriff's Office Deputy Jason Ferguson, 31, and his wife Bonnie paid a visit to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. The purpose of the visit was twofold.

First, Deputy Ferguson was picking up six Panasonic ToughBook laptops, recently decommissioned and donated by the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. These computers will be the first laptops issued to deputies in Sweet Grass County, located in rural southern Montana.

Second, Ferguson was visiting his old friend, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Deputy Jesse Unck. Unck and Ferguson served together as Marines on the USS Nimitz as ordinance technicians -- part of four-man teams loading bombs on F-18s.

Unck and Ferguson stayed in touch after their military careers ended (Ferguson's in 2005, Unck's in 2007) and each man pursued a career in law enforcement.

The Sweet Grass Sheriff's Office is small, but covers a lot of territory -- a Sheriff, six deputies and 10 reserve deputies serve a population of just over 3,600 spread over 1,800 square miles. "A River Runs Through It" and "The Horse Whisperer" were shot in Sweet Grass County, and actor Michael Keaton has a ranch there.

"Sweet Grass deputies had no laptops before this," explained Ferguson. "The Sheriff had one and would loan it to us for, say, report-writing. But mostly, to write reports we have to come into the office and use one of our two desktop computers. Sometimes it can be a 45-minute drive just to get back to the office. We carry our own guns. We don't even have work email addresses."

Deputy Unck knew about the need, and a discussion with CCSO Laptop Administrator Maurice Boardman got the donation underway.

"I was talking to Maurice and found out we like to donate decommissioned equipment to other law agencies -- mostly local agencies, plus search-and-rescue, churches, and other organizations," said Unck.

Ferguson presented Boardman with a Sweet Grass County Sheriff's Office challenge coin as a thank-you for the donation.

Deputy Ferguson couldn't be happier. "This is going to allow us to write reports from the field," he said. "A lot of times, I'm the only one working. This is going to save us a lot of time."

Photos from Deputy Ferguson's visit are linked above.

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Robert Wurpes, Lieutenant
Office of Public Information
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office

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Clackamas County Sheriff

Sheriff Craig Roberts

Sheriff Craig Roberts

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