Deputies Honored by VFW Post 2121

Published on March 22, 2021

VFW Award

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2121 honored two Weld County Sheriff’s Office deputies for their “outstanding service to the community” during its annual Americanism Program last month in Greeley.

Deputy Kayla McKinney

Deputy Kayla McKinney was recognized for her contributions to the Patrol Division, while Deputy Adam Dougherty was honored for his efforts in the Weld County Jail.

Deputy McKinney began her career with the Weld County Sheriff’s Office in 2013 as a volunteer with the Posse before transitioning to the Weld County Jail as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She later applied for the detentions academy, graduated and was hired in April 2018 as a jail deputy. A year after that, McKinney attended the sheriff’s office’s in-house Peace Officer Standards & Training Academy and transitioned to the Patrol Division in June 2019.

During the VFW event, Sgt. Sean Standridge said McKinney embodies all the characteristics of Sheriff Steve Reams’ community policing philosophy and in just over a year on the road has shown she might be the most caring and dedicated peace officer working in Weld County. It’s not uncommon to spot McKinney out of her patrol cruiser and interacting with members of the public, particularly young children.

McKinney’s service to the community went above and beyond even her normal call of duty when she and deputies Tony Cano and Andrew Welch responded on Oct. 3, 2020, to a report of a disruptive woman at a Del Camino motel. The woman, a single mother of three, was driving cross-country to Loveland from Oakland to give her children a better life.

The mother had reserved a room at the motel but didn’t realize she would also have to pay a damage deposit. When she arrived with her children, she learned she was short $1.

When motel employees refused to rent the woman a room due to a lack of funds, the woman demanded a refund. She became upset when management told her the money she already spent to reserve the room wouldn’t post back to her bank account for up to seven days.

When they arrived at the scene, Deputy Cano took the woman and the kids outside to show them his cruiser while McKinney and Welch spoke with motel management. McKinney and Welch decided to split the cost of the room so the family wouldn’t have to sleep in their car.

“Ever since she joined Weld County, she’s been wearing the uniform; from her days as a CNA to becoming a jail deputy and now working patrol,” Standridge said. “Deputy McKinney exhibits a life of service to others. Everything she does is in service to her community.”

Deputy Adam Dougherty

Deputy Adam Dougherty began his career in 2007 in the Weld County Jail, where he worked for five years. He then rotated to the Courts Division for five years before moving to patrol. After three years on the road, in September 2019, Dougherty was selected to join the K9 Unit and was assigned to the jail with his new partner, an energetic Yellow Lab named Dexter who was in training for narcotics detection.

But Sgt. Jarrod Bean said Deputy Dougherty and Dexter experienced more than their fair share of setbacks early on in their assignment together.

“There were ups and downs to the point where it was discussed Dexter might not even work for narcotics detection,” Bean said during the VFW event. “However, Deputy Dougherty stuck with it and continued to run Dexter 4-6 times a day, and even on days off.”

Dougherty’s hard work and determination paid off when on March 14, 2020, he and Dexter became fully certified for narcotics detection. Less than a week later, Dexter had his most significant find to date.

On March 20, 2020, Dougherty and Dexter conducted a random search in the trusty pod. Dexter alerted to a bunk in Cell 4. Above the bunk, hidden in the ceiling, deputies found a cup containing 641.5 grams of methamphetamine.

Dougherty and Dexter quickly evolved into a dual-purpose team, assisting the Patrol Division when needed in addition to their duties inside the jail. Their totals for 2020 included 661.7 grams of methamphetamine seized, 333.8 grams of cocaine, 4.4 grams of black tar heroin, 23 pieces of drug paraphernalia and 1 stolen firearm.

“We have various steps in the booking process to help identify and catch those who are attempting to bring drugs into the facility, but sometimes they slip our detection,” Bean said. “Deputy Dougherty and Dexter have had a huge impact in our mission to maintain a safe and healthy environment for our inmates.”