PINEDALE – For nearly two decades, Lt. Klief Guenther has been serving the citizens of Wyoming in multiple capacities – and locations – through the Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP).
His most recent change came last December, when he and his family moved to Pinedale so Guenther could take over the supervisor role in the county, following the departure and promotion of former lieutenant and now Capt. Jason Green last fall.
A Nebraska native, Geunther’s first taste of Wyoming came decades ago when he visited his brother, who was a student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie at the time.
Out of high school, he joined the U.S. Navy, where he was an aviation warfare specialist, among other duties. He served for five years, with the majority of his time spent in Japan, where he saw the first Gulf War come to an end.
Geunther returned stateside, and in 1998, he was presented with job offers from highway patrols in both his home state of Nebraska and in Wyoming. From his earlier experiences in the mountains of Wyoming visiting his brother, he opted to head west.
“I knew I wanted that access to the mountains to hunt and fish,” he said.
His first job with WHP was as a patrolman in Newcastle. He worked there just over a year before transferring to Pine Bluffs. In early 2001, WHP took over the Governor’s Protection Unit from the Department of Criminal Investigation, and Guenther was one of the first two troopers assigned to take over those duties that same year.
Three years later, he was promoted to a lieutenant with WHP, and moved to Laramie to run the road division. In 2008, he transferred to Cheyenne to run the Governor Protection Unit and security at the Wyoming State Capitol. In 2013, he transferred to WHP headquarters in Cheyenne, where he worked at the Safety and Training Division.
On Dec. 1, 2016, Geunther hit the road and moved to Pinedale to serve as the District 3 T Supervisor.
“I’ve been all over,” he said. “I had been up to Pinedale to teach and other things. I love the area, the mountains and was looking for a change.”
Division T is slotted for eight troopers in total and currently they have seven of those positions filled. District 3, which encompasses most of the western side of Wyoming, is the largest district in the state, and has the most personnel in the state.
During his first few months at the helm in Pinedale, Guenther says he has been working hard to continue strong working relationships with the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office, Sublette County Commissioners, Tip Top Search and Rescue, Sublette County Unified Fire and EMS with the Sublette County Rural Health Care District.
“I want to foster relationships, serve the community and protect citizens,” he said. “We work together to serve the community of Sublette County.”
Guenther says moving to Pinedale is just what he was looking for at this stage in his life.
“The community has been welcoming to my family and me,” he said. “It’s been a breath of fresh air to see a tight-knit community work together and play together.”
Part of Guenther’s decision to move from the big city in Cheyenne over to Pinedale was obtaining a slower pace of life for his family. He is married to wife Lyndy and has daughters Khloe, 3-and-a-half years old, Cecelia, 3-and-a-half months old, and sons Kaleb, 19, and Brett, 18.
“We wanted a change in lifestyle,” he said. “In Cheyenne, everything is at your fingertips. Here, not everything is instant, which is certainly a change. That is what we were looking for. We wanted to get back to everything that matters, which is family and friends.”
In his free time, Klief enjoys hunting and saltwater fishing and he looks forward to doing some freshwater fishing around Pinedale for trout as soon as the snow melts away. He’s also big into cooking, and his best meals come from grilling or smoking meats, he says.
Overall, he says his time in Sublette County has been enjoyable and looks forward to serving the community in his position.
“It’s a great division to work in,” he said. “We have senior guys with several years of experience that are a great representation of the agency and the community they live in.”