MISSOULA – Some people go out in search of bright lights in the big city, while others prefer a slower-paced lifestyle.
One Missoula County Sheriff’s Office deputy is ready for a new challenge in a new town where he’s ready to put down roots.
Wednesday was deputy Ryan Dunster’s last day on patrol in Missoula. After six years, he’s been named as a resident deputy in Seeley Lake.
It’s a return to his roots, in a way. His law enforcement career began as a police officer in Colstrip where he discovered the benefits of serving a smaller town.
“It’s really kind of neat because you get involved with the community. I was a volunteer firefighter with the fire department there,” Dunster said. “My wife and I were foster parents so we really got to get involved in the community and see the dynamics of it. We enjoyed that.”
He was encouraged to become a police officer while working as a counselor at the Yellowstone County Youth Detention Center. It’s where he realized he wanted to make a difference wherever he could.
“Most every police officer starts their career because they think they can change things or they want to change things, and you can one step at a time. It’s not, you can’t change everything all at one time, and you’ll never will be able to do that, but I think that’s why I got into it.”
Family is important to this officer as they prepare for a new life by the lake. He’s already met community members while working the scene of last year’s Rice Ridge Fire. Now he’s ready to join the ranks of those who call the Seeley Swan home.
“I like small towns and I really want to get back involved, maybe volunteer with the fire department and get into search and rescue.”
Dunster starts his new job on Sunday.
Reporting by Jill Valley for MTN News