By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
Undersheriff Gene Austin is very close to celebrating 50 years in law enforcement. He said he was simply looking for a job, but he ended up with a career – a career he loves.
Austin has been with the Seward County Sheriff’s Department for more than14 years, but his career in law enforcement began quite a few years prior to that particular move.
“I have been in law enforcement since 1968,” Austin said. “I started in Lamar, Colo. I went to Gunnison, Colo. I was at the Air Force Reserve there for about two-and-a-half years for security police. I went back to Lamar for awhile. An opportunity for a job here in Kansas came up, a little smaller department. For personal reasons, I came to Kansas. I was undersheriff of Morgan County for eight years. I went to Oklahoma and worked a couple of years in Texas County. It was close enough to Liberal to finish getting my degree.
“I finished my associate’s degree here, which I actually started in Lamar, many years ago,” he continued. “I came to work on the Liberal Police Department in 1991. Then in 1996 I came over here to the sheriff’s department.
“Originally, I needed a job,” he added with a chuckle. “I actually started out as a dispatcher. A few months later, they had put me to work in the streets – Jan. 1, 1968.”
To serve and protect, quite simply, is why Austin gets up and goes to work every morning.
“I know it is an old cliche, but I want to help people,” he said. “But, that is why we are all in law enforcement – to help and better our community.”