Darrell Steward Runs for Park County Sheriff Amid Growing Fentanyl Concerns
Written by Caleb Nelson on May 16, 2022
Darrell Steward, former Detention Deputy, Cody Police Officer, and State DCI (Division of Criminal Investigation) agent joined Mac Watson on Speak Your Piece (5/13/2022) to discuss his run for Park County Sheriff.
Darrell Steward’s brother, Scott Steward, is currently the Park County Sheriff but Scott is not seeking re-election.
The position of Park County Sheriff has been a family affair for the Stewards. “I was always proud of Scott for doing it – it’s kind of been in our family all along. It started with our father and on up to us currently,” Steward says.
On his decision to run for Sheriff, Steward explains, “I’d like to use my experience I’ve gained through the criminal world, and investigative, to help further the skills of the people that are there – they’re good people.”
Using his thirty-five years of experience in the criminal world, Steward wants to “enhance” investigative skills for law enforcement, even though he says, “not that there’s an issue now.”
“I’ve got a really good network of Chiefs, Sheriffs, and investigators throughout the Basin – and prosecutors even up into Montana – that I think I could use to aid the citizens of Park County,” Steward adds.
Born and raised in Park County, Steward explains, “It is my home. Our whole family has lived here all of our lives with the exception of the two years I spent down in Fremont County on the Wind River Reservation.”
Park County is growing, and the summer season brings bursts of tourism with plenty of “transient-type activity,” Steward says. With the influx of new residents, the problems in major cities and the problems at the border are moving toward the center of the country. From a policing perspective, Steward says, “It’s definitely going to become an issue I think with both coastlines trying to move in to get away from the problems they’re experiencing. And it’s coming here.”
As Steward explains, there’s already been an increase in drugs and other crimes, “Most of the ones here in Park County, the primary ones with the problems, are methamphetamines, heroin, and fentanyl.”
Fentanyl represents the biggest challenge, Steward says, “Law enforcement is taking it seriously. Where fentanyl becomes a real issue is in its pure forms and powder forms…it takes very little of it to overdose.”
The way fentanyl is being transported and consumed is always changing, and what Steward says is law enforcement must constantly be aware, “What we’re seeing are tablets, counterfeit tablets that look like regular prescription medication…that’s what we’re really seeing a lot of now.”
One major problem with these counterfeit fentanyl pills: there’s no set dosage and no one knows how much fentanyl one pill contains.
In terms of what makes for an effective Park County Sheriff, “I think a knowledge of the people in the area and being able to fit in with them and listen to them and their needs, what they want to see the department do – being able to look at the department and mold it to the upcoming needs,” Steward says.
Steward says he has been asked by people in Park County about an uptick in drug activity. Steward is open about wanting to tackle the problem, saying, “It’s going to become an issue and we need to be ahead of it if we can.”