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Hidden Heroes: Young Barton County sheriffs deputy passionate about law enforcement
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Deputy Alex Lomas prepares to start his shift Thursday afternoon at the Barton County Sheriffs Office in Great Bend. - photo by Dale Hogg, Great Bend Tribune

 Alex Lomas will always remember the time he participated in serving a search warrant at a friend’s home. It was an uncomfortable situation, to say the least.

However, the Barton County Sheriff’s Office deputy is gratified by the positive outcome of that Hoisington incident. It reminds him of why he became a law-enforcement officer in the first place.

“About a year after the search warrant was executed, my friend thanked me for it,” Lomas recalled. “He said it changed his life. He went to jail but now he is clean and sober, and has a job.

“That’s the kind of thing you look for,” Lomas added. “This job is about a lot more than arresting people and writing tickets. Just because someone breaks the law, it doesn’t mean he is a bad person. We are all human and have bad days.”

It is not uncommon for Lomas to run into friends on the job. After all, he is a Hoisington “hometown boy” and began his law-enforcement career at that city’s police department early in January 2013.

The next step was the BCSO in May 2014. Lomas enjoyed his time as a Hoisington police officer but wanted to expand his duties and experience.

“A lot can happen in 900 square miles,” he noted. “Any incident in the county that requires several officers, I’m there. I am also a member of the SWAT team.”

Lomas, a 26-year-old Hoisington resident, earned an associate degree in criminal justice at Barton Community College and a bachelor’s in the same field at Fort Hays State University. He furthered his education at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center near Hutchinson.

“During my freshman year in college,” Lomas said, “I was like a lot of other people. I was undecided about a major. I thought about being a history teacher and wanted to get a well-rounded general education.

“I did know that I didn’t want to sit at a desk,” he continued. “Then I talked with friends in law enforcement who introduced me to the idea of getting into the profession. I wanted to protect and serve, and became passionate about learning; I was really focused on law enforcement.”

Lomas indicated he continues to learn from veteran officers and “could pick their brains for a week. In many cases, veterans didn’t have all the tools we have today such as computers and cameras. However, they didn’t have to worry about people posting things on Facebook either.

“All you can do sometimes is laugh at social media,” he said, shaking his head. “You wonder ‘where did they get this stuff?’ People don’t worry about getting the facts right when they put something on Facebook.”

Whether it is through social media or traditional news outlets, Lomas is aware of negative attitudes about law enforcement across the country.

“But central Kansas is different,” he commented. “We get a lot of respect from the public. It does bring a smile to your face when they smile and wave. Ninety-eight percent of the people are supportive.”

And Lomas believes there is a reason for that.

“If we treat people with respect, we will get it back,” he explained. “If we don’t show respect, someone could easily resent it and somebody could get hurt. Communication is the best tool we have.”

Despite the inherent dangers associated with law enforcement, Lomas’ family is supportive. “They know I really enjoy it; it is all worth it when you can make a difference.

“The men and women in the sheriff’s office and other area jurisdictions are just out to do the right thing,” he said. “Cops are not bad. We don’t do it for the money. It is a passion, a calling.”

Lomas’ plan for the future is to “keep my head on my shoulders” and make law enforcement a life-long career.

“It is awesome to work here at the sheriff’s office; there is always something going on,” he said. “One day I would like to be a detective and then move on up when it is my time.”