La PORTE — Two South Central High School graduates were among three new Merit (Patrol) Deputies sworn in this week in the La Porte County Sheriff’s Department.

These new deputies will fill open vacancies within the ranks of the Merit Division and will attend the 15-week Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy basic recruit program later this year, Sheriff John Boyd said in announcing the new hires.

Deputy Austin D. Howell, 22, was born in South Bend and was a 2015 graduate of South Central, according to the sheriff’s department. He attended Indiana University-South Bend, where he studied business and economics. Previously employed by Horizon Bank, Howell resides in rural Noble Township.

Deputy Kasz X. Billings, 23, was born in Hammond, Indiana, and is a 2014 South Central graduate. Following graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and completed four years of active duty service, according to the sheriff’s department. He is now a member of the U.S. Army National Guard who lives in rural Cass Township.

The third new deputy, 23-year-old David A. Grimberg, was born in Merrillville, and is a 2014 graduate of Boone Grove High School in Porter County. Grimberg attended Indiana University Northwest and received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, the sheriff’s department said. Previously employed by the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, Grimberg is a resident in Valparaiso.

“We are ecstatic for Deputies Grimberg, Howell and Billings as they join the other women and men of the Sheriff’s Office,” Boyd said. “We wish these three deputies the best during the upcoming academy session and look forward to the service they will eventually provide the citizens of La Porte County.”

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