MISSOULA – If there was ever a legacy of law enforcement, it’s the Sullivan family.
This is Dave Sullivan, one of Missoula county’s newest deputies. He grew up in the business, so his career path was almost inevitable.
“It kind of started when I was young, of course," Sullivan said. "I fell into my father’s shoes. It’s been kind of a family tradition”
His father served as the chief of police in Anaconda. His brothers are law enforcement officers across the state, too. He’s served as a correctional officer at the state prison in Deer Lodge and as a deputy in Beaverhead County before heading here.
“I do enjoy helping people. You know, I feel like I can talk to people for the most part and help them try and resolve some of their differences and stuff that they’re having. If I can make their day a little better, you know, that makes it worth it to me.”
Right now, Sullivan is in the middle of his field training, learning the in’s and out’s of Missoula County.
No matter where he wears the badge, there are events he’s experienced in his law enforcement career he’ll never forget and remind him why he serves.
“I had some incidents where there were some children involved in accidents and that’s never easy. I mean, they did perish or pass away and that’s always tough. I mean, it was always DUI. Most of them were due to DUI and so that thought weighs on you. If I was in the right place at the right time, maybe I could have prevented it. But just being on scene and dealing with it makes it tough."
He loves investigations and following the breadcrumbs to solve the crime. Drunk driving and drugs are common themes in his job, which makes what he does even more important.
“It does get to the point where you’re kind of wondering, where does it end? But obviously that’s one of the battles that we’ll continue to fight. I’ll continue to fight because just imagine what it would be like if we weren’t here, if we weren’t doing it, it would be so much worse."
Sullivan says one of his young sons has already expressed in interest in law enforcement, so the family tradition may continue into the next generation.