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Crowd honors Lutters for service to Ness County
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Jim Lutters holds artwork he received at a community celebration of his years of service as a deputy in Ness County. Pictured are, from left: former deputy Cole Stoecklein, former undersheriff William Sutton, former deputy Lutters and former deputy Jonathan Rahe. All four resigned, along with dispatcher Rashel Hagans, on Nov. 6, 2018, and friends felt Lutter deserved recognition for nearly 40 years with the county.

NESS CITY — On Sunday, January 13, approximately 50 friends, family and community members gathered to show appreciation to Jim Lutters for his years of service to Ness County — in law enforcement and at the road and bridge department. Former Deputy Jonathan Rahle notes, “The plans for this celebration began in early November when prior Sheriff’s Office employees learned Lutters retired from the road and bridge department with little to no appreciation for his 38 years; then in November of 2018 Lutters resigned his position as a deputy at the Ness County Sheriff’s Office.”

Rahle, another deputy, the undersheriff and a dispatcher also resigned from their positions at the Ness County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 6, 2018.

According to previous posts on the Ness County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page, Undersheriff William Sutton, Deputy Cole Stoecklein, Deputy Jonathan Rahe, Deputy Jim Lutters and dispatcher Rashel Hagans all resigned at 10:50 a.m. Longtime Sheriff Brian Whipple had resigned in October after pleading guilty to one count of knowingly selling a gun to a person what was prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm. A letter from Rahe dated Nov. 6, 2018, stated his decision to resign was based on the Republican committee’s decision to nominate Brandon Mitchell for Sheriff.

All of that was beside the point as a crowd gathered in January to honor Lutters and “39 years of faithful, selfless service to our citizens,” Rahe said. 

“One thing for certain about Lutters that everyone can vouch for is if there was ever a problem along the K-4 territory in Ness County, Jim could always help. As fellow officers if we had a question about who has been where, who is mad at who or what family quarrels have been going on lately, Jim could usually fill us in. Along with having the knowledge, he also brought about a calming aura in times of crisis or intense situations.”

Lutters provided some history which Rahe also passed on. He started with Ness County Road and Bridge in October of 1978. In February of 1979 he started full-time as the Ransom Chief of Police and the only city officer.

He recalled his early patrol cars, a 1968 Chevy with the red bubble top, a 1976 Highway Patrol car and a 1980 Plymouth which he drove until he left the Ransom City Department in 1995. In 1980, Lutters started working for the Ness County Sheriff’s Office part-time.

Two of the past sheriffs Lutters worked for were Chester Barrows and Gary O’Brien.

Rahe said Lutters shared many stories and memories over the years.

“In one story Jim has told us, he talks of holding a small child and comforting them after the death of a family member. No matter how young or old you are, that is a memory that no one can shake.”

One of his most memorable cases was a burglary at the Ransom tavern.

“Jim said it was about Christmas time in 1984 or 1985 when a burglary motion alarm went off in the tavern and he went to investigate assuming it would be another false alarm. Jim said he arrived at the bar to find a car parked in the alley and as he got closer the door to the tavern came open and the person went back inside. After a short amount of time the suspect came out of the tavern surrendering to Jim saying that he wasn’t going to cause him any problems,” Rahe said.

“That night we learned the suspect had also burglarized the Ransom gas station and the Brownell Co-op. When the undersheriff got there, he admitted to another 12 burglaries that got clear down to Meade County or farther.”

Asked about the best and worst aspects of serving as a deputy, Lutters said accidents were the worst.

“You never know when you pull up who you are going to be helping; it could be a stranger from out of town, someone you talked to in the store a couple of hours ago or a family member,” he said.

The best thing was “the people you work with. Sometimes there’s some bad in the bunch but the majority of them are good and there are a lot of good people in the community you get to see,” he said.

The good in the community is what Lutters say on Jan. 13.

“It was great, this get-together,” he said. “I really appreciated seeing all the different people come to this.”

“We don’t feel there is any right way to thank someone in two hours for giving a community half of their life, but this get-together was a great show of appreciation by everyone,” Rahe said.

Lutters was presented a canvas print of his patrol vehicle and patches in front of a Ness County sunset, a shadow box of patches with a picture of him and signatures from his coworkers, as well as a plaque recognizing his 39 years of service to law enforcement.

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Jim Lutters, front and center, holds a plaque thanking him for his years of service. He posed for a photo with former colleagues at the Ness County Sheriff’s Office; former dispatcher Rashel Hagans is on the far left.