(MTN NEWS-HELENA) State and municipal leaders came together Thursday afternoon to honor Lewis & Clark County Undersheriff Dave Rau, who is retiring after 20 years of service.
The Sheriff’s office organized a surprise ceremony at the county search and rescue building to recognize Rau.
U.S. Senator Steve Daines and Montana Attorney General Tim Fox were among those who spoke at the event.
Rau’s family, including his wife and one of his children, were in attendance. More than a dozen deputies, including an honor guard, took part in the ceremony.
Daines shared a speech he will enter into the Congressional Record in Rau’s honor. It includes a quote from Sheriff Leo Dutton: “There will never be another Dave Rau.”
“I think it’s so important that we continue to honor and thank the men and women who protect us every day and keep us safe,” said Daines.
Fox pointed to the many other officers Rau has worked with and mentored during his time in law enforcement.
“Now’s the time for us to not only honor you, but for the rest of us to honor you by stepping up our game and doing the best that we can going forward, using you as our example,” he said.
Rau worked as a prison guard in Texas and an East Helena police officer before joining the Sheriff’s Office. He has served as undersheriff since 2008. In that time, he says he’s proudest of the changes he and Dutton have made at the office, and of the work his staff has done.
During the ceremony, Rau shared a piece of advice he says he often gave during staff meetings: “Don’t cut corners; please stay safe.”
Rau isn’t sure what he’ll do next, but he says, after more than 30 years in law enforcement, he’s ready to consider a different line of work.
“What a wonderful ending to my career, to have something like this happen,” he said. “This doesn’t happen often. It was very special to me.”