The Duncan Banner

February 15, 2009

Lawson Guthrie is back home

John Walker

DUNCAN — After a few years away from the Stephens County Sheriff’s Department, Lawson Guthrie is back. This time as the patrol lieutenant.

Guthrie was hired early on in retired-Sheriff Jimmie Bruner’s department by F.L. Estes, who was Bruner’s undersheriff at the time. After a few years, Guthrie decided to leave.

Since that time, he worked with Blackwater, spending much of his time in Iraq. Blackwater is a private security contractor that provides security detail for many U.S. dignitaries when they visit Iraq.

Now that Guthrie is able to spend the bulk of his time within Stephens County instead of overseas, he now has the opportunity to spend more time with his growing family.

“I just enjoy being home with my kids now,” Guthrie said.

There is one person in his family, however, that Guthrie would like to spend more time with, but cannot. His father passed away a few months ago. Fortunately, Guthrie was home from Iraq at the time of his father’s passing.

“He was an amazing guy,” Guthrie said.

His father was a veteran of the Vietnam War with parts of the movie “We Were Soldiers” based on his experiences in Vietnam, Guthrie said.

Now that his father is gone from his life, Guthrie thinks often of his example as a leader and a father in his new career and at home.

Some may think that the career change was a sacrifice for Guthrie because of the pay cut from what he was earning in Iraq, but if so, Guthrie doesn’t mind.

“Neither of us (McKinney and Guthrie) really need the money,” he said. “We just want to do good and help out in the county.”

During McKinney’s campaign for sheriff last year, McKinney started laying the groundwork for his department should he be elected. McKinney visited with people who might be competent office staff and Guthrie’s name was high up on his list.

Estes, who is like a second father to Guthrie, was tapped by McKinney to be his chief deputy sheriff. It was Estes who contacted Guthrie on one of his visits home from Iraq about working with McKinney.

McKinney and Guthrie met for a half-hour lunch and ended up talking for a few hours.

“Guthrie said he was about ready to get out of Blackwater and do something new,” McKinney said.

Guthrie’s children were also growing older. He wanted to see more of them and they wanted to see more of their father, so he felt that the time was right to change his career.

“I was making good money in Iraq,” he said. “Iraq has changed a lot since we first went over there. There’s some good people there. But I am just glad to be home with the kids now.”

Since he has been back, Guthrie has worked long hours to train deputies, find criminals and do paper work.

At night, it is not uncommon to find Guthrie and five other deputies out patrolling the county.

“We’re getting more and more deputies out there patrolling,” Guthrie said.

On some nights, they will even flood a specific area with law enforcement to try and pull over everyone who is speeding.

Many times, even the Oklahoma Highway Patrol will send out troopers to assist the deputies in their efforts to keep the county secure.

Often while out and about late at night, Guthrie will stop by a business on the side of the road and check to make sure all is well. He then places a card in the door saying that the premises were courtesy checked at such and such a time at night by the Stephens County Sheriff’s Department.

“This is something I love to do,” he said.