Posted by: njrigg | August 3, 2011

Wyoming Deputy, Bryan P. Gross, Hailed as Hero

Wyoming Deputy, Bryan P. Gross, Hailed as Hero

by Nancy J. Rigg

Deputy Bryan Gross

It is with great sadness that we must report a second line of duty death, within one month’s time, involving swift water.

Converse County Sheriff’s Deputy Bryan Gross, 29, lost his life on Thursday, July 28th, during a river rescue incident on the North Platte River in Wyoming.  Gross died just one month after Search and Rescue volunteer, Sheilah Sweatman, 29, lost her life during a swiftwater rescue mission in the Goat River, in British Columbia, on June 29, 2011.

Deputy Gross and other rescuers attempted to save the life of a distressed 14 year old teenage girl who entered the river and was swept away. The girl was rescued about a mile downstream. Despite intensive search efforts, Gross’s body was not recovered until four days later on July 31st.

Because of heavy snow melt, the North Platte River has been running higher than usual, with very cold water, making it extremely dangerous.  There have been numerous drowning deaths in Wyoming this year, including a family of four from Colorado who were killed when the highway beneath them was suddenly washed out during a heavy rainstorm.

Converse County Sheriff Clinton Becker hailed Deputy Gross as a hero, noting that his actions went beyond the call of duty.  Becker was quoted in the Washington Post: “He (Deputy Gross) made a decision to do what he did, and he did it to the best of his ability.”

As a result of this tragedy, Sheriff Becker told news reporters that the department will consider issuing PFDs (personal flotation devices, or life jackets) to deputies to carry in their patrol vehicles.  “We don’t do a whole lot of our work by the river — 95 percent of our work is out on the prairie,” Becker reportedly said. “But on occasion such as this incident, you just never know.”

Bryan served with the Converse County Search and Rescue and was a K-9 handler.

Bryan Gross was recently married, leaving behind a young widow.  In addition to his patrol duties, Gross was a K-9 handler and served with the Converse County Search and Rescue Team.  His police dog, Gus, helped search for Gross’s remains.

Funeral services were held on Saturday, August 6, 2011.

The Gorman Funeral Homes – Converse Chapel of Douglas – has been in charge of handling the arrangements.

Condolences may be sent to the family at

In remembrance of Deputy Bryan Gross.

Photos courtesy of PRAYERS FOR BRYAN GROSS:

Those wishing to donate to the funeral services are encouraged to visit Converse County Bank or send check by mail to:
Amy Gross c/o, CCSO, 107 N. 5th St. Douglas, WY 82633.
Donations can also be made to Search and Rescue at Converse County Bank 322 Walnut St., Douglas, WY 82633

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