Veteran officer promoted to captain |

Veteran officer promoted to captain

by Sheila Gardner

For Douglas County Sheriff’s Capt. Dan Britton, the past 26 years in law enforcement have gone by in an instant.

Britton, 47, recently was promoted to captain, assigned to the investigations division where he has served the majority of his career.

“I started here when I was 21 years old,” Britton said. “I graduated from Douglas High School in 1980, and I had my associate’s degree from Western Nevada Community College. I would say I was in the right place at the right time.”

Britton said he’s seen changes in law enforcement and the community, but the sheriff’s office has remained steady through the years.

“I’ve only worked for two sheriffs – Jerry Maple who hired me and Sheriff (Ron) Pierini. That’s almost unheard of. We’ve been on a steady course for 26 years. It’s just nice to have that kind of consistency for all these years,” Britton said.

Britton was assigned to investigations in 1988 for eight years, four of those on a Drug Enforcement Administration task force at South Lake Tahoe.

From 1990-95 Britton worked at the Lake Tahoe substation.

“If you were on patrol at the Lake, you came into the substation and made TV dinners for the inmates. It was pretty archaic,” he said.

In 1996, Britton was promoted to sergeant and worked in the jail and patrol before he came back to investigations.

“I like investigations,” he said. “I’ve spent most of my career, a lot of it in narcotics.”

He said running the Street Enforcement Team had been one of the most rewarding experiences of his career.

“I enjoyed it and we really made an impact,” Britton said.

Officers have noticed an alarming increase in the use of heroin.

“Two or three years ago, heroin was nonexistent among young adults. They’ve turned to it after abusing opiate analgesics – OxyContin, hydrocodone. They crush it and smoke it. It directly leads to heroin which is cheaper,” Britton said.

Heroin is available in Carson City and Reno and is easier to obtain than prescription drugs, Britton said.

“I doubt parents know their kids are abusing OxyContin,” Britton said. “A lot of times they’re getting it from their parents’ medicine cabinet. It’s getting diverted into the hands of these kids.”

After about a two-year lull, Britton said methamphetamine is making a comeback.

“If there’s any good thing about it, we’re not seeing such young kids using meth,” Britton said.

He credits the Drug Abuse Resistance Education with teaching elementary school children about the dangers of drugs.

“Kids are coming up now who have heard how bad meth was and have turned away from it,” Britton said.

As a captain, Britton expects to rotate to another division within the department.

After Pierini, and Capt. Mike Biaggini, Britton has the most longevity in the department.

“When I was 21 years old, the last thing on my mind is that I would still be here in 26 years. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. I have no plans to go anywhere else.

“People need to know we have a really dedicated group of people working in the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. They enjoy serving the public and doing their jobs. I work with a lot of different agencies and I’ll put ours up against anybody.”

Pierini said he was pleased with Britton’s promotion.

“His years with our department have been outstanding,” Pierini said. “Lately, he’s been primarily involved with the Street Enforcement Team in their drug enforcement efforts. He has a huge background in narcotics investigation and was on the original DEA task force at Lake Tahoe. He has a lot of training, great ethics and did extremely well on the examination.

“Not only does he have my blessing to carry on as captain, the rest of the people on our staff and in the agency are excited also,” Pierini said.