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Brookshire Promoted To Sergeant
After spending the last several years on patrol, Escalon Police Officer Dustin 'Dusty' Brookshire was recently promoted to Sergeant, adding supervisory duties to his daily routine.

"I've been here fulltime since October 2004 and spent a year as a reserve before that," Brookshire said. "I started as an Explorer, from 1999 to 2003."

The new sergeant began his law enforcement career the day before he turned 16, when he signed up to join the Explorer post in Escalon, a group of teens that assist with a variety of activities through the police department.

Though originally planning to go into teaching, Brookshire said a high school friend urged him to join the Explorers post and, after he did that, his future kind of mapped itself out. He got interested in police work as a career through the Explorers, and then signed on as a reserve before going through academy training and earning the full time job. He does, however, still do a little teaching, serving as an instructor at the Ray Simon Criminal Justice Center, teaching defensive driving to police recruits.

"I'm one of 30 contract instructors," he explained, noting that he covers such skills as skid control, collision avoidance, vehicle placement and pursuit driving.

For the bulk of the past year on patrol, Brookshire has worked the day shift but now he has made the move to swing shift, with Sgt. Milt Medeiros on days.

"It didn't make sense to go to two sergeants on days," Brookshire said, noting that he has a 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. shift.

He still does some patrol but also is now also involved in the administrative side of the police department.

"I do scheduling, I'm coordinating training for officers and, in a supervisory role, reviewing reports and assisting officers," he said.

Most nights, there is one officer on duty along with Brookshire, with two officers available on some nights.

Brookshire said he decided to try for the sergeant's post when it became available because he wanted to expand his role.

"I'd kind of gotten to the point that I'd done everything this (patrol officer) had to offer," he pointed out. "The sergeant's position was a natural way for me to stay here.

"I'd like to stay and do this as long as I can, it's a great town to work in."

Interim Escalon Police Chief Jim Shaw was among those on the panel that selected the new sergeant.

"It was an open competition and he impressed the board very favorably," Shaw said.

Along with Shaw, members of the 'board' for the sergeant selection were retired CHP Captain Chuck Winn, Turlock Police Department Captain Rob Davidson and past Escalon Police Chief Doug Dunford.

"Going from a peer (officer) to a supervisor is sometimes very difficult," Shaw added. "But he has done it with great aplomb."

For his part, Sgt. Brookshire said he is comfortable working with all the officers and is pleased to see some stability within the department, which he attributed to the long-term service of Dunford. He said officers are also pleased with the interim service of Shaw, so he anticipates that stability will continue.

In terms of the job, Brookshire said the city is seeing an increase in drug activity but overall crime is down. The town itself is a little more spread out than when he first began and the population has risen by about 2,000 people since he started patrol.

"With our community oriented policing, we don't have the problems of a lot of towns that surround us," he noted. "We're pretty fortunate"

A 2001 Escalon High School graduate, Brookshire said he is looking forward to continuing to serve the community.

"We're able to provide a good level of service," he said.

He also welcomed residents to contact him with questions or concerns.

"He's a great addition," Shaw said of welcoming Brookshire to the ranks of the supervisory officers. "He does some excellent work and his skills belie his youth ... it's amazing that as young as he is, he's as mature as he is. He's prepared himself well for the job."