Powell and Sawyer on the patrol with Basin PD

Jessica Robinson

A couple of new faces will be seen patrolling the streets of Basin. Justin Powell and James Sawyer were recently sworn in with the Basin Police Department.

Even though they are new to the BPD, Powell and Sawyer are no strangers to law enforcement.

Powell is originally from Pennsylvania. He served in the Army for 10 years, spending most of his time in Texas at Fort Hood. In 2012, Powell got out of the military, staying in San Antonio, which was veteran friendly.

Law enforcement has been in Powell’s family. He said his uncle retired from U.S. Customs.

“It kind of runs in the family lines,” he said.

The Powell family moved to Wyoming in 2018. He got a job with the BHC Sheriff’s Office and worked there for a couple of years as a detention officer and part-time patrol.

Now he is starting a new journey with BPD. He said he had a better opportunity. His goal was to go patrol full time, which Chief Kyle McClure provided in the offer.

Powell is looking forward to being with the BPD. He has four kids and a baby on the way. The kids will be attending school in Basin at the end of the month. He has been married for 15 years. The family wants to buy a house in the area and will be moving from the Lovell area.

James Sawyer recently worked with the Washakie County Sheriff’s Office. For three years, he worked as a dispatcher with the BHC Sheriff’s Office. Before that, he worked with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona for 13 years.

The Sawyers came to Wyoming when his wife, Tamara, was offered a job with South Big Horn County Hospital. Sawyer said he told people he always wanted to live on a farm with a view of the mountains in Wyoming.

Now, he lives on a farm with a view of the mountains.

“Law enforcement is in my blood,” said Sawyer. He has been doing law enforcement for 19 years. Before law enforcement, Sawyer was a combat rifleman for the Marine Corps.

“I have been serving my country and community for 23 years,” he said. “I live for it. I live to be able to make a difference.”

Sawyer said he can’t let the bad guys win. “It’s not in my nature,” he added.

On top of patrol, Sawyer will serve as the school resource officer for Big Horn County School District No. 4. He looks forward to working with the students. “I love kids,” he said.

Sawyer said he already knows nearly all the kids in the high school and knows a good number in the elementary school. He can’t wait to learn more of their names, find out their goals in life and high five them in the hallways. He said he wants to be there to make sure they see there are alternatives in life and they can walk the right path.

On top of that, Sawyer said anyone who wants to threaten the school has to deal with him. “Our school will be protected,” he said.

Chief McClure said the two new officers are good and the town is happy to have them.