FARMINGTON -- Deputizing two U.S. Forest Service agents as Davis County Sheriff's deputies will further extend the long arm of the law in the Davis foothills.
For years, the Davis County Sheriff's Office has contracted with the U.S. Forest Service to have the county respond to state and city violations committed on forest service property.
But now that "hand-in-hand" working relationship is being extended the other way, with the sheriff's office deputizing federal agents Brandon Robinson and Tawny Hancock, who are responsible for patrolling the forest lands in Davis County.
On Tuesday, the Davis County Commission approved the agreement between the sheriff's office and United State Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
The move gives the federal agents the authority to enforce state or city statutes when responding to a violation in the Davis foothills, Davis County Sheriff's Sgt. Susan Poulsen said.
"When they come across issues involving state statute, this allows (the agents) to enforce state law," Poulsen said.
"We work hand-in-hand (with federal forest service agents) and want them to be utilized under the umbrella of the sheriff's office," Davis County Sheriff Todd Richardson said.
This is the first time the sheriff's office has deputized federal agents.
The agreement with the USDA is reciprocal in nature, where for years the sheriff's office has had some of its deputies authorized to serve as U.S. marshals in enforcing federal law, Davis County Chief Deputy Kevin Fielding said.
The two USDA agents, based out of Ogden, will not be considered employees of the county, Fielding said, "but they have the authority to act" in behalf of the county.
The Weber County Sheriff's Department has had a similar arrangement with Forest Service agents for several years, Fielding said.
This will prevent sheriff's deputies from having to be called out on some incidences, he said.
Speculating about why they were putting the agreement in place now, Poulsen said the agreement is based on the good working relationship the sheriff's office has with the U.S. Forest Service, as well as that it extends the overall number of officers in the county that enforce city and state laws.
"We can't always send up (county) deputies (to forest lands)," she said.
However, deputizing the agents will not negate the current contract the sheriff's office has with the U.S. Forest Service to assist its agents in enforcing laws on forest lands in the county, Poulsen said.