I have over 23 years of military and public safety experience to lead Goodhue County. My military service began with Special Operations. A decade later, I led operations in Iraq with the MN National Guard. My local law enforcement experience has involved almost every aspect, including city and county law enforcement, patrol, specialty teams and assignments, administration, and command staff. My leadership roles have included Chief of Police, ERT Team Leader, ERT Commander, Field Training Supervisor, Patrol Sergeant, Patrol Captain, and more. As the current Emergency Management Director, I work with many government, private, and volunteer partners. I have received numerous awards and decorations in the military and law enforcement.
First, our staff has to trust their leadership again. With my twenty-three years of military and public safety experience, proven leadership, and recent union endorsement, I am confident in achieving this. Second, we will raise our office's standard of training, education, and professional development. We need the most competent public safety effort ever to serve our community. The third is mental health. My plan focuses on our staff, the public, and our response to people in crisis.
The current state of law enforcement in the U.S and how it impacts us here locally is a significant factor. Declining candidate pools and retention will be challenging. Non-traditional recruiting will be one pathway to mitigate this issue; however, retention of current staff is the logical first step. We must take care of our employees, or they will leave. We will have to face mental health, narcotics, and the impacts of all of this as a community. However, we need our staff to be successful.
Consistent and effective communication is the first step to transparency and our citizens' trust. We need to communicate effectively with the whole community. My plan will expand our communication pathways to ensure we are connecting with everyone. Office policies will also be available on our website. My plan will incorporate a Public Information Officer, partnered with other communications partners, to ensure that the public is informed promptly of our law enforcement actions.
I believe in taking care of my people; by doing so, they will accomplish the mission of taking care of you. I encourage initiative at the lowest level while emphasizing the importance of understanding the situation and how it plays into the larger picture. I lead by example and hold the same standard that I expect of the men and women under my leadership. I am a proven leader who has accomplished this over two decades of military and law enforcement leadership experience.
Experience and Education - As your current sheriff, I have had the honor of serving you for the past four years. I currently oversee an office of 105 staff in five different divisions. I have an operating budget of nearly $14 million and am very fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars, which is why I am proud of being under budget by $1.9 million over the last three years. With a bachelor’s degree and over 34 years in law enforcement, I have the knowledge and experience to continue as your sheriff.
During my law enforcement career, I have served in many roles such as patrol, investigator, school resource officer, field training officer, field training supervisor, SWAT team member, sergeant, crisis negotiator and medical examiner Inv.
Employee Wellness: Our staff are exposed to many traumatic events during their career and need ways for them to cope. I started a peer support team and a chaplain program to help provide staff resources and want to continue to build on what I have started.
Drug Overdoses: I’ve added a second narcotics investigator which has expanded the efforts and doubled the capacity of the current narcotics investigative unit in our Violent Crimes Task Force, which is a great asset to our county and region.
Since George Floyd, the strained community and race relationships have only been magnified. Add in the covid pandemic and our office, along with every other law enforcement agency, has had a very difficult time recruiting employees. Law enforcement schools are experiencing record low numbers of students nationwide, which translates into fewer candidates.
We are developing creative ways to recruit and retain staff in our office including a recruitment video we will release this fall.
After elected as sheriff, there was limited use of social media outlets. With the addition of a new community engagement coordinator, we increased our use of Facebook and started a Twitter platform. We report weekly and monthly “calls for service” updates and will continue to improve our use.
We initiated an annual sheriff’s office year-end report available on our website. The report was provided to the county commissioners, townships and cities we provide service to which helps transparency.
My leadership focuses on putting people in positions where they have the best opportunity to succeed. I have never asked someone to do something that I would be unwilling to do, or that I have already done, in my career. This is why my experience is so critical to the role as Sheriff.
I understand what our staff are going through and we stress the fundamental principle of teamwork. My administration understands there are more opportunities for everyone if we spread extra duty assignments evenly