Contact: Lieutenant Steve Caughey
This division is responsible for providing initial response to all calls for service received by the Sheriff's Office. These personnel provide initial investigations on all crimes reported. They conduct traffic enforcement as well as traffic accident investigations. They also provide emergency response to assist with natural and man made disasters, often in conjunction with other area law enforcement and fire rescue agencies.
The Patrol Lieutenant oversees the Patrol Division, which consists of 36 deputies. The deputies comprise four patrol squads; each squad under the direction of a Sergeant and Corporal, respectively. The division is responsible for 24-hour coverage of all areas within Benton County jurisdiction.
The Sheriff's Office has many extraordinary resources that have been created over the years to deal with special needs type situations:
- Clandestine Drug Lab Response. Benton County has one of the highest occurrences of methamphetamine labs in Washington State, which has resulted in the necessity to create a mitigation team. The team consists of five members of the Patrol Division, all of whom are specially trained in the detection and clean up of clandestine methamphetamine labs. In addition, the deputies team with like-trained officers of local Police Departments to form a larger Regional Team.
- K-9 Patrol. The Sheriff's Office currently has one canine unit deployed by the patrol division. The canine and handler are Washington State Certified in narcotics detection, tracking and officer protection.
- SWAT Team. The Sheriff's Office has six members specially trained in the use of special weapons and tactics (SWAT). Two additional deputies are trained in hostage negotiations. Together they join other specially trained officers from Kennewick, Richland and Pasco Police Departments to staff a Regional SWAT Team of over 20 officers.
- Traffic Specialists. Two uniformed deputies, highly trained in accident investigations, are assigned to handle traffic enforcement and accident investigations within Benton County. They are tasked with traffic emphasis enforcement as well as commercial vehicle enforcement. Their duties are divided between the Hanford site and the rest of the county.
- Marine Patrol. The marine patrol, which consists of several deputies who are specially trained in boat operations, serves Benton County by patrolling the navigable waterways within the Sheriff's Office jurisdiction. The marine deputies, assisted by reserve deputies, provide regular patrols during the summer months and on an as-needed basis throughout the remainder of the year. The unit has three 23-foot aluminum inboard jet boats and one 24-foot Safe boat, which are normally stationed throughout Benton County (Kennewick, Paterson and the Hanford site) in order to provide quick response time to emergency situations.
- Aircraft. The Benton County Sheriff's Office owns and operates a Cessna 182 fixed-wing aircraft. Two deputies, in addition to their patrol duties, are trained commercial pilots. They are available to deploy the aircraft for search and rescue missions, aerial narcotics detection, crime scene surveillance and other emergency uses.
- Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE). The Benton County Sheriff's Office has offered and presented the DARE anti-drug and violence curriculum to area schools since 1988. One patrol deputy, who is a specially trained, part-time DARE deputy under the newly revised DARE curriculum, presents a 10-week program to third, fifth and seventh graders. Locally, this program serves over 1,000 children each year. Participating school districts are: Finley, Kennewick, Kiona-Benton, Paterson, Prosser and Whitstran.
- School Resource Officers. Two specially trained deputies are assigned as school resource officers (SRO's) at Kiona-Benton high school in Benton City and Riverview high school in Finley. They serve as both law enforcement and security resources to the schools and community.