Sandy Signs Off

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She has had the same job for more than 32 years, and has worked under six different bosses in that time.

It’s not something you’d normally expect unless, of course, you’re working for the Benewah County Sheriff’s Office.

Sandy Auer has worked for the Benewah County Sheriff's Office for more than 32 years. She plans to retire March 26. Natasha Moyle, who has worked with the sheriff's office since 2006, will be taking over Mrs. Auer's many responsibilities. Even though the job has been challening at times, Mrs. Auer said she has had a rewarding career.

Sandy Auer has worked for the Benewah County Sheriff’s Office for more than 32 years. She plans to retire March 26. Natasha Moyle, who has worked with the sheriff’s office since 2006, will be taking over Mrs. Auer’s many responsibilities. Even though the job has been challening at times, Mrs. Auer said she has had a rewarding career.

“Every four years, there was a chance you’d end up with a new boss,” Sandy Auer said, who after more than 30 years on the job will retire March 28. “I started when Bob Kirts was sheriff and have worked under a total of six sheriffs. They have all been good to work for.”

The community celebrated her retirement Friday, March 28 at the driver’s licensing office. Members of the community stopped by and shared their stories and memories.

Mrs. Auer started working as a dispatcher and in the jail during the night shift. Her responsibilities included checking prisoners in, doing cell checks and answering calls.

“At the time, I just needed a job,” she said.

She said she can recall one night when a prisoner handed her a note, which stated he needed to talk to her.

“It turned out that some prisoners were going to try to escape and they had planned to take dispatch hostage,” Mrs. Auer said. “I almost walked out at that time.”

But she didn’t.

Despite the challenges and stress of the job, Mrs. Auer said there has also been rewarding moments during her career.

“One of the highlights for me was there was a little girl from Texas who had gotten kidnapped and she was found up here, and I was the one who got to give her back to her mom,” she recalled. “It was very heart-wrenching.”

While she started answering calls in dispatch and working at the jail, Mrs. Auer has most recently been in charge of administrative duties including sex offender registration, driver’s licenses, concealed carry permits, submitting accident reports and helping out in dispatch when needed.

Mrs. Auer said there have been many changes since her duties changed. She recalls hand-writing accident reports onto the appropriate forms before sending them in to the state.

“That’s all electronic now,” she said. “We didn’t have fax machines or copy machines.”

Other advances include the phone system, changes to driver’s licenses and changes at the jail.

“I can remember when there would only be one of us up at the jail during a shift,” she said. “Prisoners were fed a good breakfast, didn’t get lunch and then got a TV meal for dinner. Today, they get three meals a day.”

Mrs. Auer said there have been several humorous calls into the dispatch center throughout the years.

“There’s been a lot. One of the ones, of course, I didn’t take it, but it was when the lady called in and wanted to know if she could put her husband into time out. People ask us all the time if we really get calls like that and yes, we do,” she said.

Mrs. Auer said it will be the people she’s worked with over the years that she will miss the most.

“I really love people and so what I’m going to miss is the people that I’ve worked with throughout the years.”

As a cancer survivor, Mrs. Auer said she is ready to take time for herself to enjoy life to the fullest. She plans to do a little bit of traveling with her husband, Dave, and spend more time with her five grandchildren. She said she may also help out at her daughter’s daycare.

“Pretty much whatever comes around is what I’ll be doing,” she said.

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