by ADAM GRUENEWALD
Dustin Bones has had a wealth of experiences across the nation, but now feels at home at his position as the Carver County Sheriff’s Deputy nighttime deputy in the NYA area.
Bones, 33, took over for previous nighttime deputy Jeff Stratton in January. Stratton shifted to the daytime shift in place of John Fogarty, who took a position in Chanhassen.
Bones has adjusted well to the area, having lived most of his adult life in Carver County and graduated from Mayer Lutheran in 2000.
“I already knew the area and have been raising trouble around here since I was a kid,” he joked. “I knew exactly what to expect coming in.”
Preparing for every outcome is something Bones, a Doon, Iowa native, learned at a young age. He moved a lot with his mom, Kim, and stepfather, who served in the U.S. Army, living all across the United States, including Hawaii, California, South Dakota and the east coast.
When he was 12, he visited his dad and stepmother, John and Kim, in Belle Plaine and found his home.
“I was like ‘wow, Minnesota is the place to be,’” he said. “Of all the places I’ve lived and been in and seen, this county is the best place to live… It’s the best area to live in. People are the nicest. The climate (isn’t great), but other than that it’s a good place to be.”
With his place of residence in mind, he purchased a house in Waconia in 2000 and pursued a career law enforcement. He first took a position for McCloud County Sheriff’s Office dispatch office.
“That was just to get a taste for law enforcement and I didn’t want to make a hasty decision,” he said. “I decided it was what I wanted to do.”
Committed to law enforcement and needing a way to pay for school, Bones then joined the army and prepared to take part in the Iraq War.
“This is my generation’s World War II essentially so it’s time to go get things done,” he said. “You’re only young one time and this is a world-changing series of events that happened, and I decided to go.”
Once he was there, his plans shifted when he stood out in at training at Fort Benning, Ga., and was called to a special meeting.
“You do not want to get singled out, that means you did something wrong,” he said. “You just want to fly below the radar and do what you’re told… I got singled out and thought ‘oh no, this is it, I’m done.’”
The meeting though, introduced him to the Third U.S. Infantry ceremonial regiment (The Old Guard). Bones immediately joined the non-deployable regiment in Washington D.C., serving from 2003 to 2006 and achieving the rank of Specialist E4.
In that position he served at over 350 funerals, retirements and ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, and also gave tours at the Pentagon for a year.
Bones remembers fondly the daily morning training runs in Washington D.C., where he and other soldiers sprinted up the Lincoln Memorial steps and ran around the reflecting pool.
“It was neat, it was gorgeous out there,” he said. “I had the easiest and coolest military experience of anybody… I was really lucky.”
Among the other notable experiences Bones had was serving as a sentinel for Ronald Reagan’s funeral in Simi Valley, Calif., where his consistent preparation and training paid off.
Within 30 minutes of Reagan’s passing on June 5, 2004, Bones and other members of the Old Guard took a bus to Andrews Air Force Base and then took a C17 flight to California. He wasn’t able to truly witness the proceedings though, as he recalls standing with other soldiers in the ceremony, fixating on one star on a flag over the casket.
“We showed up there with nothing, a half-hour notice and we were ready to go,” he said. “That was the thing I was most proud to be a part of.”
Once returning to Minnesota in April 2006, Bones delayed his education for GI Bill purposes, working in a motorcycle repair shop as part of his dad and stepmother’s shop, Sport Wheels in Jordan.
That passion remains true today, as Bones owns three motorcycles, including a V Strom 1000 and FZ1 Yamaha and a 99 percent-completed custom bike he works on in his garage.
“My brain has so much wasted space for motorcycles,” said Bones. “But I love them.”
In August 2009, he closed down his bike shop to pursue his education, taking a full load of classes at Normandale Community College for law enforcement. He also worked for the City of Eden Prairie water plant.
After he finished school, Bones stayed busy, starting a family with two kids in Waconia with his wife, Tara, and working for the Henderson Police Department, an experience he values.
“It’s a small town and you have to police accordingly,” he said. “They talk about community policing all the time and you really have to do it or you’ll drive yourself out of town if you don’t.”
That experience has helped him adjust to his time at the Carver County Sheriff’s Office, where he started in June 2013, working nights across the county.
Now he is happy to serve the district, including NYA, Hamburg and Cologne, loving the history of the towns and the interactions with people he experiences on a daily basis.
“I like this district,” he said. “You can go where the people are. It’s really nice to be able to spread out.”
While the night shift cuts into his family time, and even what he can eat for dinner, Bones said he enjoys the pace and is at home in Carver County.
“I’ve always knew this was where I wanted to work, Carver County specifically,” he said. “I knew this is the place to be.”
Contact Adam Gruenewald at [email protected]