Auction raises money for sheriff's office deputy training

Nathan Thompson |

Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden said Saturday’s auction of more than 500 items from the sheriff’s department evidence storage and county surplus was a success, raising money for training and other law enforcement needs.

“It went very well,” Virden said. “The last report I received is that we raised over $63,000 from the auction, which exceeded our expectations.”

The auction began at 10:01 a.m. in the Osage County Fairgrounds Ag Building, 322 Skyline Drive in Pawhuska, with Cody Garnett of Great Osage Auction and Trading Company handling the transactions for the sheriff’s office. Among the items up for bid were over 120 firearms, tools, jewelry, knives and vehicles — including a 2003 Big Dog motorcycle, a 2003 Hummer H2 and a 1995 Thor motor home.

Virden said most of the proceeds will go to the sheriff’s office for training deputies in required law enforcement skills.

“Some of the money goes to the District Attorney’s office and other county agencies because the property was seized by them, too,” Virden said. “But for the portion that the sheriff’s office gets we use that for training at the firing range, or CLEET (Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training) purposes, LEDT (Law Enforcement Driving Training). We even have a deputy who is taking a laboratory certification training course in Washington, D.C.”

Many of the items included in the auction came from the evidence locker for crimes that were committed in the past. Virden said the county is required to keep the evidence until all criminal proceedings are over.

“The items have been in storage for quite some time,” he said. “We can only get rid of them once every aspect of the case is complete, so everyday we are gathering more items and the additional room after the auction helps out tremendously.”

Without the proceeds from the auction, Virden said the county sheriff’s budget could not afford the additional training for deputies.

“It certainly helps out. If we didn’t have the auction, we would have to take the funds for training out of our very tight budget,” Virden said. “This helps out without asking for more taxpayer money to run the sheriff’s office. It’s the right thing to do.”

Virden said the sheriff’s office plans to hold similar auctions at least once a year to help out the costs for training and to free up much-needed space in storage and in the evidence locker.