Veterans among county’s first responders

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  • Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Nathan White. (Photo provided)

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    Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Scott Sciaretta and his K9, Max. (Photo provided)

  • Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Nathan White. (Photo provided)

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    Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Scott Sciaretta and his K9, Max. (Photo provided)

On a chilly fall evening a week before Veteran’s Day, a small group of men sat at a local restaurant on what could loosely be described as a lunch break.

Two of those men were Lake County Sheriff deputies: Scott Sciaretta and Nathan White.

During the sit-down, they discussed what they have in common: military experience.

Sciaretta, a K9 handler for LCSO, said he has family members that have fought in wars since World War II and multiple family members with years of law enforcement background.

He joined the Army in 1979.

Spending six years with the military as a driver at Fort Sill, Okla., Sciaretta, 56, started law enforcement in 2009.

It was something he wanted to do, even into his 40s.

He was told by a former sergeant that “age is only a number.”

Starting out with St. Ignatius, Sciaretta then went to Hot Springs full time in 2010 while also becoming a reserve officer for LCSO.

In 2013, he joined the office full time.

Sciaretta said that there are at least more than 10 deputies with a military background that patrol the road, not including those from the Lake County Detention Center.

“It’s camaraderie,” he said of the ease of which law enforcement has, which is the same as those from the military.

The traits are from “like-minded” people who tend to join the military then go into law enforcement.

A reason for the closeness, Sciaretta explained, is because of what military personnel experience that they don’t discuss with civilians.

That same closeness translates into law enforcement as well, as there are sometimes situations that first responders won’t discuss with those outside the profession.

“It’s a bond,” he said, adding “it’s a trust.”

To give law enforcement members of the county an opportunity to network, Sciaretta said that he holds two gatherings each year: a Christmas party and a barbecue.

The parties include significant others and children so that everyone can learn with whom they are working.

Sciaretta said that oftentimes, law enforcement offices look to hire veterans because they are used to a structure.

Veterans “understand how to follow orders” and “get out of” certain situations using creative thinking.

Another large reason, Sciaretta said, is due to that camaraderie.

“It’s the teamwork,” he said, adding “You’re only as good as your team.”

Sciaretta echoed the “calling” sentiment by saying “it’s a duty.”

Throughout the conversation over the dinner meal, Nathan White listened to his radio diligently.

A call had come through about a motorist possibly stalled on a busy roadway.

Several minutes after he placed his order, he told the waitress he would be right back.

Driving a mile away, he said he wanted to check and see if there was a motorist having trouble, something he would have thought about as he ate.

“It’s in our (law enforcement) nature to put others first,” White said.

White has spent the majority of his 54 years as a first responder.

“I did ride alongs growing up,” he said, adding that he became a paramedic at the age of 19.

He went from being an EMT to joining the military because he thought that joining the United States Army would prepare him for a career in law enforcement.

White spent more than three years in Okinawa, Japan, where he was a green beret in the Army.

Growing up in Indiana, White’s family moved to Texas when he was 11 years old.

Also on White’s resume is chief of the Austin Fire Department, from which he retired, and a police officer position in Troy, Mont.

Sciaretta described that those who join in the military look for a routine.

White said that a career in law enforcement following the military is the next step for many.

“It seems like a natural sequence,” he said.

Although Sciaretta and White were in the military during “peace time,” White said that just because a person doesn’t see war doesn’t mean there isn’t extensive training and practice.

He liked the rigorous training to the routines of being an officer.

“It’s like being a cop. We’re always in that mindset of” going into dangerous situations, he explained.

“We run into situations where people are running out of them.”

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