Trust is key for this deputy when he hunts fugitives

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SHAWNEE COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- As part of the Fugitive Warrants Unit, Deputy John Burghart's job is to make arrests. But as his compassion for what can be the worst day of someone's life is what catches him in this week's Salute the Badge.

The day starts with a quick briefing at the Shawnee Co. Sheriff's Office. Then, deputy John Burghart heads to HIS office - an unmarked car.

"I've got a computer in my lap, desk up there. The only good thing about it is I've got a coiffure in my office," Burghart said.

That "coiffure" is former classmate, long time friend and partner at the SNCO Sheriff's Office.

"I could do it with anyone who has had the training," Burghart said, "but it's definitely reassuring with somebody who you trust."

Burghart's mentor and Captain, Shane Hoobler, says trust is imperative in the Warrants Unit because they walk right up to the unknown, knock on a criminal's door and work to make an arrest.

"I'm looking for Joe. Is he here today?"

Family member - "No he isn't"

Burghart - "Do you know where he is?"

Sometimes they get a friend or family member, most of the time no one answers and on good days a criminal is taken away in handcuffs without no trouble.

"We're looking for Robert. Got a warrant for an aggravated battery," Burghart said.

"Warrants, when I was working years and years ago," Capt. Hoobler says, "Guns were pulled on me... fights were a regular occurrence and you never know how a fight's going to end up. People really don't want to go to jail."

Deputies Ward and Burghart use an unmarked vehicle to blend in while serving warrants, but that doesn't stop them from leaving their mark guiding people in the right direction.

"I have a guy to this day will, comes up to me and thanks me... for the impact I made on his son," Burghart said to Regan sitting in the car, "For whatever reason his father credits me with his son's turn around in his life," Burghart said.

"His ability to connect with people and get the information that we need to make the arrest is very unique," Capt. Hoobler said.

Hoobler says Burghart reflects qualities he remembers in HIS mentor - the late John Burghart Sr.

"Over 20 years ago he was my Corporal and Sergeant in the fugitive warrant unit, which is where John works today," Hoobler said.

"I've always looked up to my dad," Burghart said with emotion in his eyes, "So to be able to follow in his footsteps is really an honor for me."

25 years later, he’s doing just that.

"I've had access to people that were very aggressive with officers, won't talk to 'em see my name and will remember that contact my dad had with 'em," Burghart explained, "So I try to honor him that way and treat people with respect like he did."