Shoshoni Police now without officers; plans to rebuild are in motion

By Joshua Scheer, reporter,

(Shoshoni, Wyo.) – The Shoshoni Police Department currently has no officers employed, confirmed town Mayor Scott Peters.

In an interview on Monday, Peters said SPD’s last officer, who was part-time, left last week for a full-time job in Phoenix, Ariz.

The department began thinning in August when Chief Michael Wheat left the department. “He was terminated,” Peters said, declining to comment further on the parting of ways. He later called the situation a “chief error.”

At that time, SPD had two full-time officers and one part-time. One full-time position was funded through a grant, which expired and cannot be renewed for another year, Peters said. The other full-time officer took a position in Alaska that was “a better step up.” Those departures were followed by the part-time officer’s leaving.

Peters said he has requested help from the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office during what he calls a “restructuring.”

“They’re doing us a huge courtesy,” he said of the FCSO.

Fremont County Sheriff’s Capt. Ryan Lee said his office has a deputy that works exclusively in the Shoshoni and Lysite areas. Additionally, Shoshoni is included in the Riverton division’s patrol schedule. Lee said the office is not providing any additional coverage than it has in the past.

“We are always there to help them out,” Lee said.

Peters disputed rumors that the town’s plan was to disband the department.

“We’ll get back to full force,” he said.

In the next couple days, Peters plans to have initiated a search for a new chief. “We’re shooting for the end of January,” he said for when to have a new chief on the job.

The town by itself is able to fund the chief and one full-time officer. Peters wants to hire an officer with the new chief’s input by the end of February.