MCSO promotes three to rank of sergeant

KINGMAN ­ Mohave County Sheriff's Office has promoted three deputies and detectives to the rank of sergeant. They are Carlos Rooks, John Wilson and Chris Oskins.

Sheriff Tom Sheahan said 20 signed up for the sergeant's exam, 16 tested, six passed, and the trio were chosen for the promotions. The remaining three successful applicants will remain on the future promotions list until positions become available.

Testing started May 17, and the three who ended the process with the highest scores were promoted to sergeant, Sheahan said.

Wilson originally was from California. He got his first taste of law enforcement as a security guard but left to work as a dealer in a casino.

He entered law enforcement as a career when he worked for the Fort Mohave Tribal Police Department for five years before coming to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office in 2001. He has been the K-9 officer handler for the past six months.

"I have a pretty unique job," Wilson said.

"I'm both the K-9 handler and a sergeant."

He said handling the K-9 (police dog) duties comes secondary to his duties as a sergeant.

"My dog is still limited in its abilities," he said. "It's still in training."

His regular duties now include handling calls, assigning jobs to deputies and detectives, and he's in charge of the vehicle fleet.

"I keep track of who has what squad car. I make sure the cars are maintained and kept running," he said. "And, I respond to calls in the field as backup for the field officers."

Rooks originally is from Prescott. His first career was in carpentry.

"I was in construction from the time I was 5 or 6 until I was 30 years old," Rooks said. "My first experience with Kingman was when I worked on building the old K-Mart on Route 66 at about the age of 16. I asked myself then, 'Who would want to live in Kingman?' But, here I am."

He said Kingman is a fast-growing community, facing the expected "growing pains," and a need for more law enforcement oversight. Sheahan is working on ways to attract and keep quality personnel, Rooks said.

His new job includes supervisory duties, answering calls, backup for deputies on the street, handling public complaints concerning deputies' actions, conducting personnel evaluations and double-checking reports.

Good record-keeping is vital for upcoming prosecutions, he said.

He graduated from the original Phoenix Police Academy in 1989, sponsored by Maricopa County Sheriff's Dept., and went to work for the Youngstown Police Dept.

He came to Mohave County when voters approved a tax override needed to hire more deputies in 1991. His first duties were in Mohave Valley, then in Dolan Springs for two years before joining the fugitive and warrant division, tracking down felons all over the nation.

He became a MCSO patrol deputy, but his long-term goal was to be a field training officer, join the Tactical Operations Unit, and become sergeant.

"Sgt. Scotty Durst was my role model," Rooks said. "He told me the first step was to get into detectives."

He applied and was selected in 1998. Then, he got into the TOU and became an arson investigator and instructor. He also is the head adviser for the MCSO Explorer Program for young women and men from eighth-grade graduates through 20 years old.

"It's been a long, hard climb, but it's worth it," he said.

Oskins hails from Texas and worked in law enforcement in Harris County, Texas, for three years before leaving to work in New Mexico until 1997. He came to Mohave County in 2004.

He said his career has incorporated the jobs of detective, detective/sergeant, detective/lieutenant, and narcotics, as well as patrol deputy for the last year here in Arizona.

Now, his job includes TOU, patrol and sergeant's duties. He's also a tazer instructor and general instructor, teaching "everything except firearms, defensive driving and defensive tactics."

All sergeants take on waterways patrol duties as needed and help train "rookie" deputies. They work a rotating swing shift and cross from their home district to neighboring MCSO districts to assist their fellow officers as needed. And, they take on weekly on-call duties, which mean they have to be available any time of the day or night to answer questions and respond to emergencies.

"These guys wear a lot of hats and they do their jobs very well," said Patricia Carter, MCSO public information officer. "We're very proud of them and happy for them on their promotions."