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Sheriff Rose and Junior Deputy Madalyn

pen and paperSheriff Scott Rose writes a regular column in the local Dodge County newspapers and covers everything from success stories at the Sheriff's Office to warnings on crimes trends in the region and our community.  If you ever have questions or concerns that you wish to speak to the Sheriff about, please call the office at 507-635-6200. 

BAD COPS - June 2020
FLOYD VIDEO - May 2020
WE ARE ONE WE ARE ONE - March 2020
IT'S TOUGH BEING A COP  - February 2020
THANK YOU - May 2019
JUST THE FACTS - July 2018
RIESS CASE - April 2018
REMEMBERING LORING - Sept 10th, 2017
WHY NOW AFTER 40 YEARS? - Feb 2017



We have special interest groups who continue with this false narrative suggesting virtually anyone wearing a uniform and badge is broken, is a danger to our communities, and is systemically racist.  We have state leaders with absolutely no experience in law enforcement who are now the experts – who believe they can reform our profession without our input because of our bias, because of our brokenness.  Experiments like Defunding the Police, Reforming the Police, or now Re-Imagining the Police were the rage after George Floyd was killed.  Experiments to garner political support.  Experiments that continue to excuse criminal behavior as “protesting”.  Experiments that have all failed and resulted in a dramatic increase in violent crime all over this country and violence towards officers.  Experiments that were conducted to “fix” Law Enforcement without the input from law enforcement because law enforcement is “broken” and getting our input wouldn’t support the narrative.  Experiments that have made our communities, especially in the metro, much more dangerous for everyone. 

Now that it’s an election year, those who were most outspoken against law enforcement when that supported the their narrative, are now saying they support our men and women, want to refund policing, and want to add more cops – hoping you won’t see through their politically driven BS.

I just learned this past week that our leaders in the state of Minnesota, in their infinite wisdom, now believe that our colleges and universities need to rebrand law enforcement to fit their narrative.  Schools are being instructed to remove “LAW ENFORCEMENT” as the title to their programs – moving to the less offensive title of “PEACE OFFICERS”.  Schools are also being instructed to remove any military references to their curriculum including rank like Captain, Lieutenant, or Sergeant – these terms apparently too military and too offensive to the public.  Really? 

Our state has made it very clear, that any mistakes made by our law enforcement officers will be investigated and prosecuted by the state at the highest level, putting a huge magnifying glass on our men and women making their already incredibly stressful job even tougher.  Unfairly prosecuting officers like Kim Potter to make a political statement, to make political points. 

All of this has resulted in the lowest number of law enforcement applicants and highest number of men and women leaving this profession then we’ve ever seen.  Community college enrollment numbers at a mere fraction of what they used to be. One of our local state university campuses told me recently they have five students in the program graduating this year.  Five students and not all of them convinced yet that this is what they want to do.

Frankly, with the war on cops our state has waged – why would anyone want to be a cop here?  Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of the most rewarding professions there is – I would do it all over again without hesitation, which is why I will continue to talk to students about considering going into law enforcement.  But what are we doing to encourage young men and women to take on this calling here in Minnesota?  Our state leaders are suggesting signing bonuses, assistance with tuition, and other benefits are going to draw more applicants – what they don’t understand is it’s not about the money.  If any of us were concerned about the money, we certainly wouldn’t have become cops.  If these men and women don’t feel like they have the support of our leadership locally, at the state level, and at the federal level – all the money in the world isn’t going to convince them that the risks are worth it.   

If safety in your community is important to you and if your family’s safety is important to you - when you are deciding on candidates to support in November, please support candidates that have consistently supported law enforcement, through the good and the bad.  If our leaders don’t do a better job of supporting the men and women willing to take on this calling to keep our communities and our families safe, and we keep losing good officers and seeing less and less applicants and students – in a few years many of your communities won’t have enough officers to keep your family safe.

Thank you to everyone who’s supported our amazing staff of men and women throughout these difficult times – you have no idea how much our deputies, dispatchers, and their families appreciate your support.

Your Sheriff,




As we near the end of 2021 and look ahead to 2022, I hope and pray we can start to chip away at the divisiveness we’ve seen in our country over the last year or two. 

I grew up in Kasson-Mantorville.  As a kid, I watched Sesame Street every day.  Absolutely loved that show growing up.  One walk down Sesame Street, and you’d see way more diversity than I’d ever experienced growing up here.  Back in the 70s and 80s, the Kasson Mantorville area was not very diverse at all.  Growing up I had a couple great friends who were part Indian, and one who was part Japanese.  That was it.   

In the early days of Sesame Street, we had Gordon Robinson who was a teacher.  His wife Susan was a nurse.  They both were African-American.   Louis Rodriguez was Mexican-American and ran a fix-it-shop.   Maria was a Puerto Rican teenager back then who worked in the library.  David was the second African-American male resident (after Gordon) who worked part-time at Hooper's Store while studying law.    There were these great characters plus Bob Johnson the music teacher, Mr. Hooper who owned the candy store, and all the crazy Muppet characters.  This mix of cultures and backgrounds made up what we knew as Sesame Street.

In the early days of Sesame Street, I don’t remember them talking about color.  There weren’t white people and black people.  There weren’t white people and people of color.  They were just people, they were just neighbors, they were what made up Sesame Street. 

There are some serious racial problems in many communities across the United States, and I understand certain areas in our country have some real challenges they’re facing – fortunately we just don’t see much of that here in Dodge County.  Instead of dividing us with rhetoric, with special interest groups, and with politics – why not learn from our differences and celebrate what we have in common.  Our love of family, our love of community, and our love of our heritage.  Our desire to be safe, to have good jobs, and to have quality schools to educate our kids.  Our wish to see our kids and grandkids succeed and have a better life than our own.  We can celebrate our differences and still be one as a community, as a country.  We are all different in different ways, and we should embrace our differences and be proud of them - but we are all Americans. 

What made our country great is all the different cultures that immigrated here for the same purpose  – freedom.  All working together to form the UNITED States of America.  I hope and pray in 2022 we can find some of that unity again. Remember, our kids and our grandkids are watching everything we say and do.  Let’s teach them how we can embrace and be proud of our differences, and still respect other heritages, other cultures.  Let’s teach them how together we can use our emotions and our energy towards uniting our communities, instead of dividing them. 

Thank you for all your support for our men and women serving here in Dodge County.  They need to see and hear your support now more than ever.

Merry Christmas everyone and please have a safe and Happy New Year.

Your Sheriff,




We've had a lot of people reaching out wondering why the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office wasn’t on the Dateline show about Lois Riess.   First of all, our staff did an INCREDIBLE job with this case and it’s investigation.  I would put them up against any big city or county investigations team, and I couldn’t be more proud of the work they did – I don’t need to go on national television to show them how much they are appreciated.  
Dateline titled their 2 hour show THE WOMAN IN THE BAR.  Here in Dodge County, for the Reiss family, Lois wasn’t “The woman in the bar."  Regardless of whatever mental break caused her to do what she did, she’s still their Mom, and she killed their Dad.  They not only lost their father and grandfather, they essentially lost their mother and grandmother as well in this terrible nightmare.  David and Lois’s kids are still trying to process this, and always will be.  The grandkids who dearly loved David and Lois, who spent a great deal of time at grandma and grandpa’s house, are now trying to process all of this.
This family is still struggling to heal the best they can.  If we had talked to Dateline, or any of the other numerous tabloid tv shows who’ve been calling, our appearance would have done nothing more than help them sell advertisement – which does nothing to help this family.  In reality, unless the family is involved to help tell the story, shows like this simply revictimize them over and over again.

Unfortunately, the true reality is these national network tabloids don’t care about victim's families like the Riess or Hutchinson family.  They don’t care about Dodge County – they’d never heard of Dodge County until this happened.  All they care about is getting the story and selling advertisement.  This is evident by their relentless calls and emails to this office and to this family over the past several months and years.  While I understand these networks are only doing their job, our job is to support this family thru this tragedy.   Our first priority is supporting the Riess family, not getting on national television.  
This is why we didn’t participate.  Please keep the Riess Family in your thoughts and prayers as they work thru the healing process and their new normal.
Your Sheriff,

BAD COPS - June 2020

It’s no secret that many larger metro cities like Minneapolis have struggled with issues within their Police Departments. Many of these agencies are historically underfunded, understaffed, and can't keep up with their call load - a call load that burns out and hardens many good cops regardless of how good their intentions were when they started. Some of these larger departments have cultures that protect their bad cops, with strong police unions that make it difficult at best to get rid of those bad cops. In many cases, this is happening in cities with politicians who are financially supported by these unions. It’s much more complicated than most people realize.

The George Floyd protest movement is focused on the narrative of systemic racism in the ranks of law enforcement nationwide, a narrative not supported by any credible data. Is there an issue with systemic racism in some of these larger metro agencies? Perhaps. While racism certainly needs to be addressed if found in these agencies, shouldn’t we also focus on the fact that these agencies may be struggling with bad cops and poor leadership? Take Officer Chauvin’s history and the death of Mr. Floyd. I don’t know one cop that wasn’t horrified by Chauvin’s actions - actions that no good cop in this country wasn’t appalled with. Nobody hates bad cops more than good cops, but does that make Chauvin racist? He worked in a predominantly black community, so most of his interactions were with people of color, so most of his complaints likely would come from that community anyway. Right? Does this mean that he’s racist, or just a bad cop, or both? Not at all excusing any of his actions. Not saying he’s not a racist. I’ve never met the guy before. Just asking the question.

Where do bad cops come from? Are there bad people that get jobs as cops? We work hard to prevent that in the interview and application process, but sure there are. Just like there are bad doctors, bad lawyers, bad politicians, etc. It happens in every profession. In law enforcement, even the good cops can get burned out today and get into trouble, especially if they work in communities where they always feel like they have to have their guard up, in high crime communities where they feel like a target. The best-intentioned cops can also get caught up in a bad culture. Cultures that can develop in any size department with disconnected leadership, where you don’t turn in fellow cops or speak up against them for fear of retaliation or worse – cultures that hide behind the Thin Blue Line and tarnish it’s true meaning in the process. That is still no excuse for this behavior. A bad cop is a bad cop, regardless of how he/she got there. It’s also a leadership problem. This problem often starts at the top - with the administration being so disconnected from the bottom that they don’t know what’s happening in their own department. Often with administrations that are so tied up in the politics their focus is on self-preservation and promotion, not on the men and women who entrusted them to lead.

Is there racism and implicit bias issues in some of these agencies? Sure. But we also need to focus on the bad cops? If you are racist, that in itself makes you a bad cop – but all bad cops aren’t racist. To me, the common issue seems to be bad cops. What can we do to help administrators better police their own agencies and clean up the problem areas, without their hands being tied by these big unions? Don’t get me wrong, unions have been an important part of law enforcement – they provide legal defense funds, help with wages and benefits, and help officers thru many types of crisis. They protect good cops from bad administrations. However, they also protect the bad cops from good administrations - with an arbitration system that is broken, reinstating bad cops emboldening that bad subculture that protects them, while undermining Police Chiefs and Sheriffs seeking to do right.

To jump on the DEFUND THE POLICE bandwagon will only drive away many the good cops in those agencies, and leave them with some of their bad cops that can’t get jobs elsewhere. It will leave them with open positions and very few applicants when the dust settles – who wants to go work for a city and council that openly threw their entire department of over 800 cops under the proverbial bus because of the horrible actions of just a few. It will also leave them with a department that’s left with no help from outside agencies when things go bad again – why would any Sheriff want to send their deputies into harms way to help a city council that has openly showed it’s bias towards their own officers? Bias goes both ways.

I am the third of four generations of my family who have served as law enforcement officers. I am proud of the calling and the positive work that we’ve done in our community – proud to be able to do my small part in helping make our community a little safer place for us to raise our families and live in. I couldn’t be more proud of the great men and women who serve here in Dodge County, and their families that support them through these challenging times. We used to have huge numbers of applicants for law enforcement positions throughout the region. Now agencies struggle to get a mere fraction of those applicants, often with few if any quality candidates. In today's climate, why would anyone want to enter a career field that has been so vehemently attacked by the anti-law enforcement movement since Ferguson. It takes a pretty special person to take on and continue this calling in today’s world. We’re in this together, and working together we can make things better. Be sure to thank your local law enforcement for serving. These are tough times for the good guys.

Remember, nobody hates bad cops more than good cops.

Your Sheriff,


FLOYD VIDEO - May 27th,  2020

Yesterday I watched the video from the cities with MPD officers and George Floyd, a video that left me shocked, sad, frustrated, and angry. Last night I watched the 10pm news reporting the riots and protesting in Minneapolis – it left me shocked, sad, frustrated, and angry.

Shocked that another officer didn’t step in and stop it. Sad seeing Mr. Floyd begging the officer to stop, saying he couldn’t breathe. Frustrated that any officer would think this was ok.  Angry that Mr. Floyd lost his life.

The actions of these officers do not reflect the majority of great men and women who chose to serve and protect our communities. Men and women who still believe in right and wrong. Men and women who will put their lives on the line for you and your family any day of the week.  Men and women who live and work in the communities they serve.  Men and women who feel driven, who feel a calling to do their small part to help our community a safer place for us to live and raise our families.  Men and women who sacrifice so much of their lives to help ours be a little better.  Men and women who will always be there to help you regardless of race, gender, or political preference.  Men and women who’s families also make sacrifices every day for us.

Tragic incidents like this tear apart families and divide communities. That loss of trust makes our jobs as cops more dangerous and erodes the relationships and trust that the vast majority of men and women serving in law enforcement have worked so hard to develop in the communities we serve.

More details will come out when bodycam video is released and reviewed. Unfortunately, that may lead to more questions than answers and won’t bring Mr. Floyd back.

We don’t have body cameras here in Dodge County – the large expense of purchasing and maintaining this equipment has prevented most small agencies like ours from being able to afford them. We do have squad cameras in all of our vehicles that record audio and video – audio and video that’s available if a deputies behavior comes into question.

We provide de escalation training. We provide Crisis Intervention Team training. We train on pressure control tactics – a knee on the neck is not part of any training we do with our staff. Please know we would never tolerate any tactics like this here in Dodge County, unless that officer absolutely felt his or her life was in jeopardy. That obviously doesn't appear to be the case with Mr. Floyd.

We do everything we can to make sure our staff has the equipment, support, and training necessary to keep themselves safe and keep the public safe – to prevent tragic incidents like the death of Mr. Floyd.

Please keep Mr. Floyd and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Please keep the citizens of Minneapolis in your thoughts and prayers. Please keep the good men and women serving in the Minneapolis Police Department and other law enforcement agencies throughout the state in your thoughts and prayers.

We are cops. We are also your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers, we are parents, our kids play together, we sit next to you at school events, we are co-workers, some of us are grandparents – we are a part of this community too. Together we need to stand strong as a community, continue to support our law enforcement and not judge all based on the actions of a few, always condemn behavior like this, and appropriately prosecute those at fault.

We are in this together.

Your Sheriff,



It was December 3rd, winter setting in along the busy Mississippi River town.  It was 12:15AM, and Winona Police Officer Mathew Hamilton, the town’s night watch and Special Policeman, was walking his beat downtown.  As he walked into the waiting room of the Winona and St. Peter Railroad depot, he  found a man lying asleep on one of the seats.  Hamilton woke the man and told him to get up and let others sit down. The man refused to move, and Hamilton got him on his feet and called fellow Officer Miller to assist getting the man outside.

Officer Miller asked the man, who appeared intoxicated, where he wanted to go and he said, to Trempealeau.  Miller told him that if he would behave himself he might get to go back and sit down. The man went back and commenced swearing and abusing Hamilton.  He then told Miller to take him off and lock him up.

Both officers went in and took hold of him, but the homeless man, who was large and powerful, resisted, and they called another man in the baggage room to help them. When they reached the door the man caught Hamilton by the throat choking him.  Herman was behind and gave all three a shove and they all went out and fell on the platform outside.

Hamilton called to Miller to strike the man, but Miller hesitated.  As the man continued to choke Hamilton, Miller eventually hit him to make him let loose.  He let go, then, and Mr. Hamilton raised himself up and said: “I am gone, Miller. I can’t do any more to help you” and stepped back.  At that time Hamilton knew he was in trouble from the assault.  Hamilton took Miller by the hand and said, “Miller, don’t leave me. I’m dying. Get me home if you can.”

Officer Miller and four or five other men came to assist carrying Hamilton to the omnibus.  On the way to Hamilton’s home he could not speak loud, but he pulled Officer Miller down to him and told him in a feeble voice that he was going to die and as soon as they got to the house to send for his brother and sister.

They carried Officer Hamilton into the house from the bus and got him on the floor, and while fixing some pillows under him he passed away from an apparent heart attack during the fight.  He had been ill for a few weeks struggling with heart related issues.  This night he felt better and was his first night back on duty after being ill.  Fellow officers said, when in good health, he was a powerful man and seldom met any customers he was not able to handle.   

Officer Hamilton was 51 years old and survived by his wife and two children. He was the first documented Line of Duty Death in Southeast Minnesota.  The year was 1874. 

Fast-forward 146 years. The Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation of SE MN honored 31 fallen law enforcement heroes from 21 different agencies in SE Minnesota last week, including Officer Mathew Hamilton.  This list included four fallen heroes from Dodge County:

Hayfield Marshal Ole Havey – End of Watch 12/28/1905
Claremont Police Chief Greg Lange – End of Watch 07/05/1988
Hayfield Police Chief Doug Claassen – End of Watch 03/15/1999
Dodge County Captain Loring Guenther – End of Watch 9/10/2013

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Governor’s Executive Order, the Foundation pre-recorded the annual SE MN Law Enforcement Memorial Program for National Law Enforcement Week honoring these great men.  The video was released on Monday the 18th.   The link to this memorial video is on the Foundation website at   

Remember, it’s not how these men died that made them heroes, it’s how they lived.


Your Sheriff,



WE ARE ONE - March 2020

Remember 9/11?  After the attacks, the biggest seller in the stores… was anything that had a US Flag on it.  Everywhere you turned you’d see the flag; on clothing, flying in every yard, even flags flying from vehicles.  Everyone supported law enforcement, fire fighters, and our first responders.  It didn’t matter what color you were, what your religion was, what part of the country you lived in, or what political party you supported – we were one!  We were Americans standing as one against the terrorists. 

Then that unity slowly changed as 9/11 became a memory.  Over the years our country has become divided.  Our political parties have polarized.  There are people in both major parties that don’t recognize their own.  We have elected officials focused on their own political careers and party agendas, often seemly forgetting that their focus should be on our agendas, the people that elected them.  Officials on both sides of the aisle that have done everything in their power to villainize anyone that doesn’t agree with their ideology - grandstanding at every chance they get to gain media attention and political points.   No one was safe from these attacks – even law enforcement with politicians pandering to special interest groups jumping on the anti-law enforcement bandwagon born from the Ferguson shooting - inflammatory rhetoric and political pandering that not only made the job of law enforcement more dangerous, but also eroded much of the relationships and trust that most members of law enforcement have worked so hard to develop in the communities we serve.  

These actions have torn apart our nation, have done nothing to help those struggling across the country, and have eroded much of the respect many of us had with our leadership - some at the state level, many at the federal level.

Fast forward to March 2020.  COVID-19 is here.  Schools are closed. Businesses are closed.  Many essential items are hard to come by.  People are scared.  People are struggling.  We are under attack again. 

This attack has resulted in families being forced to spend more quality time together.  Citizens are reaching out to others in need, especially our elderly.  Neighbors are flying the US Flag and families are in their front yards siting the Pledge of Allegiance.  Actors, musicians, and other stars doing fundraisers and donating money to help.  Local, regional, state, and national business leaders are pitching in to help - retooling their factories to make respirators, masks, and ventilators – including many Minnesota businesses large and small.  National businesses like Starbucks are offering free beverages to first responders – Police Officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and researchers.  Child Care workers are helping with daycare for first responder families.  Food and treats being sent to law enforcement and first responders as a thank you – in the last few days we’ve had rolls, and pizza sent to our staff from grateful citizens.

No more political ads. No more negative campaigning.  No more clashes between parties pandering for our support and our vote.  No more “witch-hunts” on both sides of the isle - doing everything possible to slander, degrade, and defame the other side.  No more law enforcement bashing (funny how that changes when we enter a crisis.).  A political “time-out” if you will - both sides working together against this attack.  Once again, we are one and focused on the fight.

I find it sad that it takes a major crisis like this to bring our country together.  To make us find our civility. To make us find our compassion.   To make us realize again what’s really important. 

In the shadow of this terrible crisis, let us embrace the unintended consequences – the political “time out” and the unity our country is showing.  Let’s stay positive during this time.  Let’s continue to help one another.  Let’s continue to be kind to one another.  Let’s support and thank those heroes working thru this crisis – from first responders to our amazing medical professionals, from the convenience and grocery store workers to our truck drivers helping to keep their store shelves stocked, and everyone else in between.   Let’s take serious and follow the medical profession’s recommendations to keep our families, our friends, and our neighbors safe.  Let’s take and learn from the lessons of this crisis so we are better prepared for the next one.  Let’s get thru this crisis together. 

Hopefully, when all is said and done, we won’t soon forget how being unified and working together makes us so much stronger as a country.

Stay positive, stay safe, and stay healthy everyone!

Your Sheriff,


IT'S TOUGH BEING A COP - February 2020

It’s tough being a cop. If our jobs weren’t stressful enough the way it is, we often have to deal with even more anti-law enforcement rhetoric during an election. We all try and stay positive, focused, and motivated to continuing our calling, to keep you and your families safe, and to get home after every shift to our families. This can be a challenge when our national media, government leaders, and even some of our presidential candidates use anti-police rhetoric to 
push the false narrative of systemic racism in law enforcement to gain votes and power – a narrative that became an obsession with some after the Ferguson shooting. Political candidates have made several false and inflammatory comments during this election cycle: Sen. Bernie Sanders, when asked by a black student at Benedict College for advice if they get pulled over by law enforcement, told the student, “I would respect what they (the cops) are doing so that you don’t get shot in the back of the head.” REALLY, Senator?

Vice President Joe Biden was asked what advice he would give to a black student, if she was his 
daughter, if she gets pulled over by the cops. His response, “If you were my daughter, you’d be a Caucasian girl and you wouldn’t be pulled over. That’s what’s wrong.” REALLY, Mr. Vice President?

Last year, on the five-year anniversary of the Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo., Sen. Elizabeth Warren 
tweeted “five years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot six times. I stand with activists and organizers who continue to fight for justice for Michael. We must confront systemic racism and police violence head on.” REALLY, Senator?  Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being with malice and without legal excuse or authority.  President Obama’s Department of Justice found there was no criminal intent on Officer Wilson’s part.  False rumors about Brown’s death, including the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot”claim, ignited violent protests in Missouri and the birth of Black Lives Matter, resulting in many officers being hurt, targeted, and killed because of this stoking of America’s division.

This inflammatory rhetoric and political pandering not only makes our job more dangerous, but it also erodes the relationships and trust that most members of law enforcement have worked so hard to develop in the communities we serve.

As cops, we believe there are things worth fighting and dying for. We know that not every problem can be solved through rational discourse - that some problems can only be solved through the application of force and violence. While we do prefer the former, we are perfectly capable of the latter when necessary. We believe that fighting what others fear is honorable, noble, and just - and we are willing to pay the price for that deeply held belief. Why? For most, it isn't a choice. It’s simply who we are. It’s how we are wired. It’s our calling.

It’s tough being a cop, and the cumulative stress of the job can really take a toll. These challenges are sometimes referred to as “The Weight of the Badge,” and can end up being too much for some to manage without help – resulting in officer suicides. We’ve seen too many of these right here in Minnesota over the past year or two. Nationally, we are seeing more law enforcement suicides a year than line of duty deaths. As a profession, we are trying to change the stigma of mental health challenges recognizing that we need to create a working environment where it’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to ask for help if you need it.

Please don’t judge our cops based on some of these false and divisive comments made by politicians this year – it’s a tough enough job the way it is without having to listen to our political leaders throwing us under the proverbial bus while pandering for your votes.

Your Sheriff,




Christmas has always been my absolute favorite time of the year.  We have so many long-time traditions that we cherish in our family, especially the Christmas tree.  

We always had a fresh Christmas tree when I was growing up.  Some years we would go to a tree farm with Dad and cut down the perfect tree, other years we would go to Houston’s or one of the local service club sales and get our tree.  I smile thinking about how Dad would often struggle with the tree stand, trying to get it just right for Mom before finally placing it in front of the living room window.  We would then wrap the tree in lights (always leaving them turned off until the end), decorate it with many homemade ornaments that we made with Mom over the years, and then finish the tree off with the old silver tinsel.  The last step would be to turn off all the lights in the house and then light up the tree for the first time.  Great memories!

When Rosie and I started our family, we continued with these traditions.  Each year we would take the kids out and find the perfect fresh tree to cut down and bring home.  They used to enjoy arguing over whose turn it was to cut the tree down, an argument they still have as adults when they come back.  For years, we would visit El Heusinkveld’s Tree Farm just east of Mantorville.  The kids loved going there – Rosie and I did too!  El would always greet us in the garage with fresh baked Christmas cookies and cider and the kids would love running around all the trees looking for the perfect one.  If we were lucky, we would also often seen a bald eagle or two soaring around above us from the tall pines along the Zumbro River. We would follow the same steps as had been done for years when I was a kid – wrap the tree with lights, decorate with homemade ornaments and tinsel, then light it up.  Its funny how smells bring you back to a day or time – I often think of Heusinkveld’s when I smell cider.  The smell of the ornaments when we open up the boxes and containers in brings me back too.  Lastly, that fresh pine smell in the house reminds me of these great memories of our kids, as well as memories of my childhood with Mom and Dad. 

This is the first year Rosie and I have put up and decorated a tree without our kids here.  Our oldest son Eddie and his wife and kids are in Colorado, Middle son Alex is in Los Angeles CA, and youngest son Cooper and his wife Gaby are in Monterey CA – all doing well finding their way and building their careers.  Our tree is full of memories of our three sons – many homemade ornaments they made throughout the years growing up, some with pictures, some with little messages, all of them priceless to us.  Also ornaments that our parents gave to us as kids, bringing back fond memories of our parents who have passed.  Rosie and I are now adding ornaments for and from our three grandkids too, moving on to the next chapter in our lives.

For us, the tree is an annual reminder of all we have to be grateful for, and how truly blessed we have been over the years.  This week when you are celebrating around your Christmas tree, be sure to remember and thank those who make it possible for you to freely celebrate Christmas, to make these amazing memories with our families, and who keep our communities safe – men and women who work day and night to protect our families, our communities, and our country.  Our military both here and abroad and our public safety partners – law enforcement, fire, and medical.  These great men and women often sacrifice so much during the holidays in order to help keep us safe and secure.  They add “Public Service” to their list of family traditions.   For that we are all grateful.

Make remembering and thanking our public safety heroes both here and abroad, a family tradition - great life lessons your kids will always remember and pass down to the next generation.  Together we can help continue to make Dodge County a great place to live and raise our families. 

On behalf of my wife Rosie, and the great men and women serving you at the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office, we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and safe and Happy New Year.  

Your Sheriff,



This past summer I wrote a column about how divided our country has become.  After seeing everything that took place outside the Trump rally in Minneapolis in October, it’s apparent that the divide in this country is not only our new sad reality, but it’s also got law enforcement in it’s crosshairs. 

We have communities calling to disarm entire police forces and calls to reduce and even eliminate law enforcement altogether, even as violent crime in many parts of our country are escalating to alarming numbers.  We have public safety review boards full of people who know nothing about law enforcement, there to determine if the split second decisions our officers have to make were justified or not.   We have Police Chiefs, even in our great state of Minnesota, pushing the political agendas of their city councils.  Worse yet, we have no true national news outlets anymore – on either side of the isle. Nobody reports the news anymore.  It’s all opinions, agenda driven, and politically motivated –to either the left or right.   Who do we turn to for the facts anymore?  I wish I had that answer. 

The Minneapolis Police Chief, seemingly following in the anti-Trump footsteps of his boss (Mayor Jacob Frey) reported that protests at the Trump rally were vastly peaceful and respectful with only one citation and one arrest the entire evening.  However, video coverage of the protesters outside have been posted on the internet, and it appeared to be anything but peaceful and respectful.  It is amazing that there were no serious injuries – at least that were reported. The videos also showed protesters harassing and threatening police officers, signs that said BLUE LIVES DON’T F###ING MATTER, chants by protesters “Save a life! Kill a Cop!” or “F### Police!  F### what you stand for!”  To my knowledge, these videos never made the main-stream media – the same media that vilified what took place inside Target Center, while seemingly whitewashing the violence and riotous behavior that took place outside on the streets.  

This type of leadership is analogous to the trends we are seeing nationwide in many of our metro areas -  Leadership that’s motivated by power, politics, and elections.  Our communities risk dangerous consequences anytime our leaders put political interests ahead of public safety.  In doing so they jeopardize the safety of our communities, our officers, and our first responders.  

The 87 Sheriff’s in Minnesota are voted for every 4 years on a non-partisan election ballot in part for this exact purpose – to help prevent political leadership and interests from influencing decisions that may affect public safety.   

Who wants to go to college and commit to a career that is constantly second-guessed and berated throughout the nation because of false narratives put out on social media by anti-police activists?   Who wants to be labeled the next “racist” or “trigger happy” cop smeared all over social media when they are forced to use deadly force to protect themselves or others?  Who wants to be stalked and attacked with water buckets and anti-police mobs like in New York City and be ordered to ignore it?   Who wants to be constantly videotaped, told it’s for their safety, then armchair quarterbacked by every special interest group and anti-police group when things go bad on a call, using those false narratives and emotions to push forward their campaigns or agendas before any facts are released.  Who wants to work in a field where substance abuse, depression, PTSD and other challenges have become so prevalent within the ranks of co-workers and their families.  Who wants to put on a badge and serve in a climate and time where we have more officers killing themselves each year than those killed in the line of duty?  Who wants to take on all of this with a wage that often requires them to take on a part-time job just to help make ends meet?

I’ll tell you who.  Some pretty amazing men and women.   Young and old, right out of college or coming in as a second or third career.  Men and women who still believe in right and wrong.  Men and women who will put their lives on the line for you and your family any day of the week.  Men and women who live and work in the communities they serve.  Men and women who feel driven, who feel a calling to do their small part to help our community a safer place for us to live and raise our families.   Men and women who sacrifice so much of their lives to help ours be a little better.  Men and women who will always be there to help you regardless of race, gender, or political preference.   Men and women who’s families also make sacrifices every day for us.  Do some of them make mistakes?  Absolutely - Cops are human too.  But the vast majority are very special people, in spite of what the media might lead you to believe.   

It breaks my heart to see how some in these communities berate and belittle their troopers, deputies, and officers – most who simply signed up to try and make a difference and help people.  Dodge County has always been very supportive of our men and women serving in law enforcement and I hope to God that never changes. I think about these amazing local heroes day and night, pray they stay safe out there, and thank them every chance I get for their great work and dedication to our communities.  I hope you all will do the same.  A simple thank you goes a long way to remind them that we all appreciate the often thankless and difficult work they do.    

Your Sheriff,


THANK YOU - May 2019

We had another very successful Police Week last week.  This year we highlighted and honored Hayfield Police Chief Doug Claassen at the SE MN Law Enforcement Memorial in Rochester.   It was great to see Kathy and her family there and to honor Doug’s service and sacrifice, along with all the sacrifices that Doug’s family made before and after he was injured in the line of duty.   Our state ceremony on May 15th went great as well at the Capitol grounds with beautiful weather and a great crowd.   At that program we placed a memorial wreath in memory of our late Captain Loring Guenther, to honor and remember his service and sacrifice to our community, and to remind his wife Deb that we will always be there for her.

 At both events this week, while other officers shared their challenges and concerns about problems with law enforcement relations their respective communities, it caused me to reflect on how fortunate we are to serve as law enforcement officers here in Dodge County, and to say “Thank You”……

THANK YOU – For being supportive of the men and women who serve as officers, deputies, and troopers in our communities.
THANK YOU  - For remembering to thank our Dispatchers too for the amazing work they do behind the scenes.
THANK YOU – For taking the time to smile and wave when you see one of us drive by.\
THANK YOU – For saying, “Thank you for your service…” to us when you see us at one of our local stores or events.   That means more than you know to our staff.
THANK YOU – For sending treats to our staff at the Sheriff’s Office and showing them they are appreciated.
THANK YOU – For not using us as the bad guy with your children, “If you don’t behave I’ll have to call the cops to come over here and deal with you”.  We need your children to trust us and feel comfortable approaching us anytime they need help.
THANK YOU – For teaching your children to respect and trust law enforcement by both your words and by your example.
THANK YOU – For letting us give tours of our office and the courthouse to your youth groups, giving us the opportunity to be a positive influence on them and share all the positives about law enforcement officers and this great career.
THANK YOU – For being polite and respectful if we do end up stopping you on traffic, or having contact during an incident. 
THANK YOU – For displaying a blue light outside your home to show you support us.
THANK YOU – For saying a prayer for our staff’s safety.
THANK YOU  - for wearing blue during police week, and displaying blue ribbons in support of law enforcement.
THANK YOU – For sharing the positive stories about law enforcement.

It’s an honor and privilege to serve in a community like Dodge County that is so supportive of all the great work our men and women do keeping our communities and neighborhoods safe day and night.  I couldn’t be more blessed to have the opportunity to grow up, raise my family, and serve my entire career in such an amazing community. 


 Your Sheriff,



Legalized recreational marijuana in Minnesota?  Good or bad?   Here are some facts to consider……

HIDTA, The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 to provide assistance to Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States.  This grant program was administered by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).  Their website is

According to HIDTA, there are several alarming statistics coming out of Colorado that contradict a lot of the positive points being made in our state capital about the benefits of legalizing recreational marijuana.

“It could reduce the number of people locked up for drug offenses….”

I personally can’t remember the last time I actually arrested someone for possessing a small amount of marijuana.  Most law enforcement here will tell you the same thing.   Those being arrested are in possession of larger quantities for sale – that wouldn’t change with recreational marijuana being legalized here.  These arrests are still happening in states where it is legal.The suggestion that legalizing it will help reduce illegal sales or “black market” marijuana crimes is just not accurate according to HIDTA.  In 2017, Colorado’s state drug task force seized 7.3 tons of marijuana that was headed for 24 different states throughout the country.  Seizures of Colorado marijuana in the US mail system have increase 1042%.  The Colorado Highway Patrol has seen marijuana seizures increase 39%.   They’ve also seen an increase in violent crimes and property crimes related to the marijuana trade. 

Public safety on our highways is a concern as well.  In Colorado, marijuana related traffic deaths are up 151%.  Traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana more than doubled.   

“Legalizing pot could bring in a new source of tax revenue if regulated properly….”

In Colorado, Marijuana tax revenue represents approximately nine tenths of one percent of Colorado’s FY 2017 budget.  Some data estimates for every sales tax dollar brought in, the state is spending $4.50 to manage the program and all the challenges that come with it – state program management, increased law enforcement expense, increased medical and treatment expenses, etc.  Granted, there is other revenue besides tax dollars coming from this industry to be considered.  In a recent economic impact study in Pueblo County alone (similar in population to Olmsted County), the marijuana industry led to increased demand for law enforcement and social services totaling $23 million dollars in added costs.  Advocates will tell you those costs were offset by the $58 million that marijuana generated for the county in the same year — a positive net impact of $35 million.   Locals including the Sheriff, will argue that the compromised public safety, public health, and quality of life in their county caused by legalizing recreational marijuana is absolutely NOT worth the net impact.  

According to HIDTA, additional negative impacts to Colorado’s budget include a 52% increase in emergency room visits related to marijuana incidents.  Their yearly rate of marijuana related hospitalizations are up 148%.  Much of this is because of the increased potency of Colorado marijuana products – smokeable marijuana with THC potency exceeding 19% and concentrates and edibles over 100% THC.    Compare this to 1995 marijuana THC potency averages of 4-5%.  Bottom line is this isn’t the same weed from the 90s, 80s, 70s, or earlier.  With these levels of THC, this is a completely different drug, and no one knows the long term effects and consequences of use.  In the public health and medical communities, they’ll tell you that today’s marijuana users risk physical withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and psychological dependence.  This is a completely different drug from weed back in the old days.

I could go on and on with documented concerns coming out of Colorado.  Keep in mind, this is about recreational marijuana, not medical marijuana like we have here now – two completely different programs.  Many for legalization say it’s simply about letting people use marijuana in the privacy of their own homes, just like alcohol.  Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.  There are a lot of the negatives that go along with legalizing recreational marijuana that aren’t being discussed, aren’t being shared, aren’t being considered – our state leaders seem focused on the potential revenue source this legislation could produce.  But at what cost? 

Colorado ranks 3rd in the nation for marijuana use with kids 12 and older (85% higher than the national average!).  Is that what we want for our kids?  For our state?

Something to think about…..
Your Sheriff,



One of our Commissioners asked me this week why our deputies often leave our squad cars running.  He explained he’s been asked this question by voters in his district.  It’s a great question.  Here are the reasons……

Squad cars today are way different than they were back in the day.  When my Dad (Bob Rose) worked for the Kasson Police Department and later with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office, things were a lot simpler in squad cars – a radio and radar…that was it.

Today, our squad cars are a state-of-the-art rolling office.  We have a mobile computer system with printer, a squad car camera system, wireless equipment, rechargeable electronic equipment (cameras, flashlights, microphones, etc.) and chargers, light equipment, and our emergency medical equipment. 

There are many reasons why we need to keep our squad cars running, especially in extreme conditions – both cold and hot.  Keeping squad cars climate controlled is important, not for officer comfort, but to keep our staff safe and protect climate-sensitive equipment and emergency medical supplies.

OFFICER SAFETY – The in-car camera system in our squad cars records all audio and video of everything going on inside the squad car and outside.  These camera systems record all interaction with the public, both on patrol and in the back seat of the squad car.  They protect both the public and our staff from false claims and liability.  When our vehicles are shut down for more than 10 minutes, the camera system shuts down to conserve battery power.  When the squad car is started back up, it takes a couple of minutes to boot up the camera system and log the system back on.  When our deputies get called to emergencies (domestics, driving complaints, medicals, etc.), every minute counts when it comes to the public’s safety.  We can’t delay our response to make sure all of our squad car equipment is back on and logged into.  In the litigious environment we live in today, having these cameras running at all times is extremely important.

MEDICAL EQUIPMENT – Here in Dodge County our deputies and officers are the first responders for medicals.  We carry Oxygen and Defibrillators for medicals.  Cold O2 should not be distributed because it’s not good for fragile tissues in bronchial and lungs.  O2 should also never be stored in hot vehicles as they can become unstable and explosive. 

Defibrillators must be stored in temperatures from 32 degrees to 122 degrees.  Any more and they won’t perform properly and may cause battery problems.  Temperature extremes can also cause issues with the pads.

NARCAN – The medicine we use with opioid overdose victims is called Narcan.  It is very susceptible to temperature issues and needs to be stored in a temperature range from 59-77 degrees.  Every squad car carries this medicine and has the potential of saving lives with it’s deployment.

MOBILE COMPUTER SYSTEM - Laptops are running constantly in our squad cars.  While the cold temperature itself isn’t as much of an issue anymore with the new laptops, condensation can become an issue with a vehicle interior that is cycling warm and cold.  The heat is much more problematic with today’s laptops, especially since they sit near the windshield exposed to sunlight.

In the same way chocolate bars melt, leather seats become scalding and smart phones overheat when locked inside a car in the sun for too long, the computers and other electronic equipment our squad cars are outfitted with these days can be negatively impacted by extreme temperatures.

 In addition, especially this time of year, it’s vitally important that windshields are kept clear when our deputies and officers are dispatched to an emergency call.  The only sure way to make sure the windows are clear, is to keep the temperature controlled in the squad car by leaving it running.

The cost of leaving these squad cars running is a small price to pay when you look at the overall picture.  Our primary focus is to make sure our staff has the ability to respond quickly and safely with the necessary equipment to handle any potential emergency to the best of our ability.  There are too many variables for us to not keep the temperature constant in our squad cars.

Hopefully this better explains why we often leave our squad cars running.  Please feel free to contact me any time if you have any questions about our Office, our policies, or our procedures.  We take our responsibility of operating within the budget set by the commissioners, and our responsibility of maintaining the safety of our staff and public very seriously.  

Your Sheriff,




I’ve heard this question a few times this past month while visiting with area city councils about their law enforcement coverage.  It’s a fair question….  

When I worked patrol I would make my rounds in whatever town I was working in, respond to calls, get information from citizens about problem neighborhoods or people, and then park and get my paperwork done.  I would often park on the main street in town, very visible to anyone driving thru.  For example, in Claremont I would park in front of the Fire Department.  In Mantorville I would park at the bottom of the hill at our maintenance garage.  

Your deputy’s squad car is his/her rolling office.  In the old days we had to go into each city office to check ordinances, check messages from the city, do reports, and do research on problem areas/persons in town.   Your deputy now has an online computer in the squad car that’s connected to dispatch, to the other squads working in the county, to the state, and to the internet.   All the information they need is available in their squad.  

What is he/she doing parked each night?  We’ll here are just a few things they may be doing:

-          Updating their patrol logs.  They maintain a log of all of their activities and routes throughout the night.  This is turned in at the end of each shift.

-          Reviewing incidents in your town from the night before or weekend before.  Usually to see if there are recurring problems to note, new problem residences, new arrests, or any other incident that may need follow up.

-          Writing a report from a previous incident in your town.  These have to be completed and turned in to their supervisors for each incident.

-          Adding notes on the computer regarding a specific call they were just on – notes the next deputy will see and be aware of.  

-          Checking driving status or vehicle registration for persons of interest in an investigation or complaint.

-          Watching for unfamiliar vehicles coming into town.

-          Using social media to research persons of interest in an investigation or complaint.

-          Watching for a vehicle or person expected to pass thru your town that is wanted for an incident.

-          Running stationary speed radar. (I used to do that all the time in Mantorville)

-          When we are dealing with incidents where officer safety is a concern, we often use the computers to get information out to our deputies regarding the incident and persons in question.   Your deputy may be monitoring online information about a call another deputy is on in the area or in a neighboring town – sitting there waiting to respond to help if needed.  

-          Waiting for one of your local stores to close for the night.  Our deputies will often park near gas stations, bars, and other businesses at closing time to make sure the employees are able to safely close up shop for the night. 

-          Using their phones to follow up on cases or incidents.

-          Trying to calm down after a high stress incident or medical. 

-          Meeting with another deputy to share information or talk thru an incident.

-          Taking a break and eating their lunch or dinner. 

This job has changed dramatically over the last 10 years – especially since the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown Jr. in August 2014.   Since that incident, which spawned a number of violent protests fueled by the false narrative that Brown had his hands up saying “don’t shoot”, the number of cases where cops were targeted by protestors and criminals rose dramatically.   This includes a number of incidents where cops were approached and attacked while sitting in their squad cars.   The most recent incident was in August of this year when two New Jersey police officers were shot while in their squad car – 10-25 rounds shot into the vehicle.  This is the kind of threat I never really thought about when I was on the road - usually the bad guys ran from us, not towards us.    Today’s patrol deputies have to think about this and take steps to be safe when doing work in their squad car.  Many will still park out in the open where they are visible to the public.  Others may choose to park in areas where it is unlikely for someone to be able to sneak up on them.  This may be behind a building or in an area where they would likely see anyone approaching – an elevator or cemetery are just two examples.   

Times have changed, good and bad.  We have to adapt to these changes to keep our staff safe.   Don’t assume that if your local deputy is parked and sitting in his/her squad, they aren’t doing their job.  That is almost always NOT the case. 

We have some pretty amazing men and women serving our community - working day and night to help keep you, your family, and your community safe.    Many of them have equally amazing families who also make great sacrifices in order to help keep our community safe.    

Next time you see your local deputy, make sure to wave and/or say “Hi” and “Thank You” for their service. 

Your Sheriff,


 JUST THE FACTS - July 2018

Last week, on our Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, I expressed my frustration and disappointment with one of our local media outlet’s decision to use the Kasson Police Patch graphic on jail cell bars as the graphic for a recent article regarding the bail reduction hearing for a local officer who has been charged for allegedly committing some terrible crimes.

My intent with my post was not to bash that particular media outlet, it was simply to call out my disappointment in how they decided to frame their story.  The huge number of comments from our followers regarding their disappointment sent a pretty strong message.  The incredible amount of responses was real feedback from people in our area who support law enforcement.  People who are obviously upset by how the media (in general) all too often adopted a negative spin on law enforcement related stories.   That is something that all area media should take note of. 

Since the Ferguson shooting incident with Michael Brown, the main stream media all too often takes stories about negative incidents with cops and makes it all about cops – not about the person who allegedly committed the crime.   As soon as an officer is accused or charged with a crime, the story quickly becomes a systemic problem within the Thin Blue Line – a training problem, an ethics problem, a leadership problem, a law enforcement culture problem.   When in fact, in most cases it’s just bad choices or bad decisions made by someone who is employed as a cop.   Sometimes it’s just a bad person who ended up becoming a cop.  Unfortunately, it’s apparently a much better story if it’s bigger problem within law enforcement – which is almost always not the case. 

I personally experienced this a few years ago when an article I wrote about my issues with Black Lives Matter was spun into my being racist and closed minded to minority relations within our county.  Those that know me know that couldn’t be the furthest from the truth – but apparently it made it a better story.  

When the Kasson Police Department patch is used as the graphic in this officer’s story, it’s easy for some in the public to see it as an indication of problems or issues within the Police Department, leading some people to question their intentions, their efforts, and their service.   Using that graphic can also lead  readers/viewers/listeners to question Kasson as a community – a community where most of us are very proud to be a part of.    For those that live in that community, they showed their disappointment online expressing how upset they were about it and yes, many lashed out.  I too took offense for both reasons as I grew up in Kasson and started my career with that department, a department staffed by some really terrific men and women who serve that community with dedication, integrity and honor.

Unfortunately, the main stream media has created a culture where attacking law enforcement and protesting every use of force incident is rewarded with sensational headlines, round the clock coverage, and front page pictures.  A culture where in many areas of the state and country, it’s no longer socially acceptable to be pro-law enforcement.  A culture that has made our job much more difficult, and much more dangerous.

On the other side you have those who are pro-law enforcement.  Community minded people who appreciate their local law enforcement and are tired of the anti-law enforcement narrative – whether intended or not.  They are also willing to speak up, as we saw online.  They struggle trusting the news media because of the often negative narrative towards law enforcement.   

 The Kasson Police Department has a great group of men and women who proudly serve and protect that community day and night.   It’s where I started my career.  It’s where my father started his career. To imply that the alleged mistakes of one officer is any reflection of the quality or character of this department is deceptive and misguided at best.   Chief Kent Berghuis, who was one of my first trainers, does a great job there!      

 I wonder how the Mayo Clinic would react if one of their staff was arrested and a picture of their logo on jail cell bars was used?  Hold on – that would never happen.  Gotta love politics!

We hope and pray that as this case goes thru the court process, area media stays focused on reporting the facts – that these are allegations of crimes committed by one man, not a department.  We need to continue to support the rest of the staff at the Kasson Police Department during this challenging time.  Now more than ever, these men and women really need our support.   

Just the facts please….just the facts.

Your Sheriff,


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National Police Week (May 13-May 19) is a week where we as a nation take time to honor America’s Law Enforcement Community and pay special recognition to those law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

Since 1791 more than 20,000 law enforcement heroes have died in the line of duty in the United States.  Here in Minnesota we’ve had 280 recorded Line of Duty Deaths with 28 of those officers having fallen here in SE MN - Including 4 from Dodge County.

This week we remember…..

HAYFIELD CITY MARSHAL OLE HAVEY (End of Watch December 30th 1905)
Ole Havey, Hayfield City Marshal of three years, was shot and killed during a burglary in Hayfield on December 30th, 1905. Marshal Ole Havey was survived by his wife Lulu and three children all under the age of 10.   He was the first Law Enforcement Line of Duty Death recorded in Dodge County.

Claremont Police Chief Gregory Lange was shot and killed while trying to break up a domestic argument in the city of Claremont, less than 200 feet away from his own residence.  He was survived by his wife Sue and son Chris who was 12 years old at the time of his death.

Chief Douglas Claassen died on March 13th,1999 from complications from a neck injury he suffered during a struggle with a suspect in1977.  He was 65 years old. At the time of his injury, his daughter Jean was 9, Mark was 14, and Bill was 19.  Upon his death he was survived by his wife Kathy and his three adult children. 

DODGE COUNTY CAPTAIN LORING GUENTHER (End of Watch September 10th 2013)
Captain Loring W. Guenther died unexpectedly from a heart attack on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at his home in Kasson shortly after returning home from work.  Workplace stress was determined to be the major contributing factor in his death.  He was 43 years young and was survived by his wife Debonie. 

A ceremony to honor all of Minnesota’s fallen will be held on May 15th at 7pm at the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial at the State Capitol.  A ceremony honoring all of SE Minnesota’s fallen will be held May 18th at 530pm at Soldiers Field Park in Rochester.

This week, if you can’t attend one of these programs, I ask that you to please remember our four fallen, and all the other great men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to help keep our county, our state, and our country safe.  It’s also just as important to remember the families of the fallen, on this day and always, to show them your support and appreciation.  While every day can certainly be a challenge for the family and friends of the fallen, this can be an especially tough week.

Remember, to fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past.

Your Sheriff,


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RIESS CASE - April 2018

To say we’ve had a challenging 4 weeks here at the Sheriff’s Office would be an understatement at best.

 Dispatchers taking tips from all over the country, Records Staff serving as the Public Information Contact for our office, all three Investigators working an incredible amount of hours following up on leads, and our patrol staff helping in any way they can with our Investigators on the new cases coming in daily.  Media calling from all parts of the state and country following the case – some polite, some not so much.  National media flying to Minnesota unannounced expecting an interview simply because they are the “national” media – calling dispatch pretending to be friends with staff trying to get an interview for their big TV news shows.      

I have to say I couldn’t be more proud of our staff - their teamwork and all the hard work everyone has done to get us thru these last 4 weeks, especially our Investigators!  We are blessed to have an amazing group of men and women serving our office and our community.

The national media has sensationalized this case with several colorful story headlines: 

Losing streak Lois....Grandma killer... Fugitive Grandmother...

 The real story here in Dodge County that we all need to remember is we have a local family who has lost their father at the hands of their mother who’s now devastated another family forever - and the whole country has watched this drama unfold.  How do you process that as one of her kids - or worse yet…one of her grandkids? Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of a long road for this family with what we expect will be a long and grueling court process in two states.  How incredibly sad this whole case has become for these two families.

When you talk about this case, please remember to be respectful to the family members affected by it.  We don’t have the answers yet as to why things happened as they did - maybe we never will.  However, we do ask that you please keep the Riess family in your thoughts and prayers during the next few weeks and months.  They are going to need our support now more than ever.

 Your Sheriff,


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Headline writing in media today has long been considered a skill but, in the digital age, a new word has become synonymous with online journalism - clickbait.  Simply defined these are headlines which often are sensationalized and misleading, in many cases to simply get you to click on the story, video, podcast, etc.  This "clickbait" headline above is one that not only made me click on the video this morning, but sent me into a tailspin of frustration and anger towards our national media.  I think it's important to clear up a few misconceptions here.

There have been a lot of discussions on national news stations this morning about law enforcement failures during recent active shooter incidents. One commentator suggested (as described in the above clickbait headline....) that cop’s hesitance in Parkland is a “trend” of cowardice. Trend?? Really?? The failures in the few shooting incidents that national news outlets are referencing where deputies did not immediately go in and engage the shooter were one of two issues – failures in training (or lack there of), or they were cowards. Commentator Michael Graham was interviewed and, in my opinion, took the comments that officers shared to him about going home completely out of context. He stated that a number of officers have told him that their number one job is to go home safe at night to their families. Absolutely that is our “goal” as law enforcement officers, and we preach it regularly. We stress to our deputies to always utilize all of their training, tactics, and experience to stay as safe as possible at work so they can go home after each shift. That certainly does not mean – don’t engage the threat. To suggest that is absolutely ridiculous. Since Columbine, most law enforcement around the country have trained their officers that during an active shooter incident, as soon as you arrive you go inside and directly engage the shooter to eliminate the threat.

Due to increasing incidents like this across the country, we’ve conducted a number of active shooter training exercises in our region here in SE Minnesota in recent years. We are very fortunate here in Dodge County to have an amazing group of men and women serving this community. As soon as we get on scene we will immediately enter and engage the active shooter and stop the threat. Period. That's what we train and that's what we will do.

There are over 900,000 law enforcement officers in the US who protect and serve the citizens of this great country with acts of incredible courage day and night. We are talking about a handful of officers here who failed to act. There is no trend here. This was simply one of two issues – a failure in training, or cowardice by the officer(s) who failed to go in. Any suggestion otherwise just fuels the strong anti-law enforcement rhetoric that the great men and women who bravely serve in our county and in this country deal with on a nearly daily basis from national media.

Unfortunately, the sad truth is sensationalism like this is all too common everywhere today - whether you watch CNN or Fox News - don't believe everything you hear and check your facts and sources. National news is all about advertisers, ratings, and "clicks" online - it's all about profits, about money. All too often with many of these national news outlets the main casualty never reported the "truth".

Next time you see your local law enforcement, make sure to thank them for their service.

Your Sheriff,


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Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The best executive is the one who has enough sense to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”    

As Sheriff, I believe it’s important to lead with a positive reinforcement-based leadership style that edifies and fully utilizes the knowledge and strengths of our staff to help with the day-to-day duties and decision making.  Our staff, in every department, brings to the table years of experience, both inside and outside law enforcement.   The men and women who serve the Sheriff’s Office and this community deserve a positive, enthusiastic, supportive Sheriff’s Administration that allows them to do what they do best without micro-managing, while leading with an impartial compass for what’s right and what’s wrong.  I firmly believe this leadership style that we’ve adopted has greatly benefited both our staff and the people we serve. 

Leadership isn’t about how far you advance yourself, it’s all about how far you advance others.  We regularly praise and credit our amazing team of men and women who serve day and night - both with the public and internally throughout the year, as well as during our annual Awards Banquet each year.  It’s been very exciting to see, with the right tools and encouragement, our team working together and accomplishing some pretty major goals and improvements over the past three years. It’s been even more exciting to see our employees learning and growing – developing into our future leaders.  For me, that’s probably one of the greatest experiences as Sheriff – to be in a position to help those who are willing to work hard and grow develop into our future leaders.  

Leadership is really all about producing more leaders, not more followers.

This positive leadership philosophy has proven effective over the past three years – evident by the number of our employees who have been recognized state-wide for their work and achievements:

Captain Ryer Anderson – Minnesota Sheriff’s Association Supervisor of the Year  
Investigator Jeff Brumfield – LELS Annual Lou Jeska Award
Sergeant Rich Allee – Minnesota Sheriff’s Association Service Award 
Melissa Bublitz / Records Dept  – PLEAA Excellence in Service Award

This past week, at the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Governors Conference, our PSAP/Emergency Management Director Matt Maas was awarded the annual Emergency Management Director of the Year award. 

While there are many accomplishments throughout the year by many of our staff, these are just a few great examples of staff going above and beyond and being recognized inside and outside of our office for their efforts – evidence that our style of leadership works here in Dodge County.  

We are excited to learn, improve, and strengthen our staff and it’s abilities in 2018 – to continue to provide Dodge County the level and quality of law enforcement services you’ve come to expect from our office. 

Thank you for the opportunity, your confidence, and your trust. 

Your Sheriff,


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While you and your family celebrate the holidays together at home, we are patrolling your neighborhoods – checking your property, your yard, your streets, looking for anything or anyone out of place.  We are the ones that venture into the dark, not knowing what if anything awaits us, often to protect many of you we have never even met.  

You spend the evening with your family warm and safe indoors, many enjoying a few drinks in front of a warm fireplace.  We’re outside trying to stay warm, dealing with the winter elements - freezing rain, snow, sometimes dangerous road conditions, or maybe even a blizzard.  We’re out there waiting for our 911 Dispatchers to advise us when someone else in the county needs our help.   

You’ve got your kids with you, maybe grandkids, also grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.  The whole family is together for this joyous occasion.   Our families are spending another holiday without us.  This was our year to work.  Hopefully we make the rotation next year so we can take time off for them. They understand we make these sacrifices to help keep our communities safe, to help people in need, and to do our little part to make our communities a better place for them to live in.  They understand our sacrifices are also their sacrifices. 

Your Christmas Eve dinner is ready, a feast the whole family has pitched in to help with.  The smell of turkey, ham, and warm pie fill the air, those smells that make us think of Christmas’s past.  The house also smells of fresh pine from the real Christmas tree in the living room.    We’ve been busy tonight so we haven’t had a chance to get much for a meal - chips and a pop at the local gas station, maybe a piece of pizza or pre-made sandwich.  Later we’ll stop in to check on our gas station attendants who are also sacrificing on Christmas.  We’ll refill our coffee cups and continue our patrols thru the night. 

You’ve finally got the kids to settle down for the night, all excited about presents and that visit from Santa overnight.  Everyone’s tucked in for a warm night’s sleep.  If we are lucky enough to live in the zone we work in, we’ll try and stop by to say goodnight to the kids.  If we’re too busy, we’ll just have to call when we can.  We’ll wish them Merry Christmas over the phone and say goodnight to the kids.  Hopefully we can call before they go to bed. 

Your kids are in bed and now its adult time - you sit and play cards, games, and visit with family and loved ones reminiscing about the highlights from your evening and all the great memories of past Christmas celebrations in your home.   While patrolling your neighborhoods, we all have those homes that stir up old memories as well.  The crash we worked a few months ago where we pulled a child from the wreckage who didn’t make it.  It’s hard to forget the reaction we got when we walked into that home to tell those parents that their child was gone – or the emotional feeling of just wanting to go home and hug our kids and tell them that we love them.  We worry about those parents tonight.  We think about that incident every time we drive by that house – a memory we’d love to forget - but can’t.    We hope and pray we don’t get another crash like that tonight on Christmas.     

Your kids wake you up early, all excited about opening Santa’s presents and celebrating Christmas Day.  You’re rested and ready to share this amazing day with your family.  We’ve been asleep for an hour or two before our kids are waking us up excited about opening Santa’s presents and celebrating Christmas Day.   We finally finished our shift a few hours earlier after a busy evening and quietly sneaked into our homes around 5am.  We took off our uniform, grabbed a quick snack from last night’s big meal, and headed to bed trying not to wake up the kids or our spouse.  We’ll go downstairs now and see the kids open their gifts, while trying not to think about some of the things that we saw last night.  Then it’s back to bed for a better part of Christmas Day.  We’ll go back to work at 6pm and do it all over again. 

Inspite all of the sacrifices many of us will make this Christmas, and some of the anti-law enforcement rhetoric we endure from the main stream media and other radical groups, we remain very proud of this profession that we love.  We’re proud of our uniform, we’re proud of our badge, and we’re extremely proud of our flag.  We couldn’t imagine doing anything else.  Helping you is our calling, it’s our passion, and it’s truly what motivates us. 

The intent of this column is not to make you feel sorry for law enforcement and public safety, it’s simply to remind you of some of the many sacrifices these men and women make for our communities – especially during the holidays.

It’s also important to think about the sacrifices made by all our Public Safety Partners serving our communities over the holidays – our 911 Dispatchers working to keep everyone safe, our local Ambulance and Fire Department members (many who are volunteers) working side by side with us on emergency calls, and the medical professionals saving lives at our area hospitals.  Don’t forget our local tow companies who are also out there helping us day and night.   How about the convenience store attendants around the county who are also there to make sure you and Public Safety has everything we need during the holiday – fuel, hot coffee, snacks, etc.   

his Christmas, if you see your local law enforcement or public safety professionals out working the streets, take a minute to thank them for their service and sacrifice.  Your “thank you” means a lot to all of them, especially during the holidays.

Your Sheriff,


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Following the Mayflower’s arrival at Plymouth Rock on December 11th, 1620, the Pilgrims suffered the loss of nearly half of their original 102 colonists.  With the help of local Indians, the remaining pilgrims were able to survive a cold and bitter winter – and produced a very bountiful harvest that next summer.  They held a traditional 3 day English harvest festival, in which both the colonists and natives united in thanks….most scholars believe this is how our Thanksgiving Holiday started.  

For many of us, the Thanksgiving celebration includes huge feasts, long weekends, parades, football, and family gatherings.  

Unfortunately, for many other families, this time of year is not as festive.   While we enjoy a pretty strong economy in this area, especially under the bubble of the Mayo Clinic, there are many families still struggling to make ends meet.  Struggles that often include financial challenges that sometimes make it hard to put a meal on the table or clothing on their kids, some dealing with major health battles, some further burdened by chemical dependency challenges - both drugs and alcohol. 

This year, as you give thanks for the blessings you and your family enjoy, please consider doing your part to help others this next year.  Consider volunteering with an area service group or charitable organization here in Dodge County.  We have several organizations dedicated to help families like these who are struggling.   You can either volunteer and/or donate to great local organizations like the Masonic Lodge, Legion Auxiliary, SE MN Red Cross, and Salvation Army to name a few. Mission 22 is another great organization that works with veteran and public safety suicide prevention. Shop with a Cop in Kasson.   There are other great community service organizations like the Lions who volunteer tons of hours throughout the year to community projects.  Also groups like the Shriner’s who work to raise money each year for the Children’s Hospital, or the KM Care and Share Auction held annually in Kasson each year that helps raise money to assist people with food, clothing, utilities, and others in times of need. The Dodge County Food Shelf is another organization that needs your support.  Our Schools also have many organizations you can become a part of to help better our community.  There are so many great local organizations here in Dodge County that could use your help and support to help those in need!

Here at the Sheriff’s Office, we are heavily involved in the Toys for Tots program this time of year.   Toys for Tots is a program that was founded in 1947 by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas.    Last year we sorted over 20,000 toys and delivered them throughout SE MN.  Our first goal at the Sheriff’s Office is to make sure no child in Dodge County goes without a few nice gifts under the tree this Christmas.  We then help neighboring communities fill their orders including delivering a bunch of toys to Santa Anonymous and to the Children’s Floor at St Mary’s Hospital in Rochester.   We will start collecting new unwrapped toys this week at the Sheriff’s Office in Mantorville. 

This week when you sit down and celebrate Thanksgiving with your family and friends, and you give thanks for all the blessings you’ve enjoyed throughout the year – please say a prayer for those struggling this holiday season and consider donating and/or volunteering a little bit of your time to one of the many great charitable organizations in our area.  Together we can help continue to make Dodge County a great place to live and raise our families.  

Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Your Sheriff,


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Freedom, Honor, Pride, Sacrifice, Love of Country…….

For many, the flag stirs up many memories, memorials, feelings and emotions. The flag means different things to different people – in different walks of life. 

I was asked to speak last week at the Field of Flags Ceremony in Mantorville.  The topic – “What does the flag mean to me?”

For me, the flag represents our amazing law enforcement officers who, day and night, work tirelessly to make our communities safer for our friends, our families, and our children.  It reminds me of our Dispatchers, the unseen heroes behind the mic, really the backbone of law enforcement.  It also reminds me of our many Sheriff’s Posse volunteers who serve side by side with our deputies – serving and protecting. 

The flag reminds me of all the law enforcement officers we’ve lost this year killed in the line of duty – As of September 7th, Line of Duty deaths in the United States total 88 for the year.   It saddens and humbles me to think about their sacrifice – and it reminds me to do everything I can to help make sure our men and women have all the tools, training, and support to ensure that they stay safe day and night while they work to keep our communities safe.

It reminds me of the four officers we’ve lost in the Line of Duty here in Dodge County in the 162 years since JB Hubbell was appointed as our county’s first Sheriff. 

Hayfield City Marshal Oly Havey – End of Watch December 30th 1905 – shot and killed confronting an armed burglar at the Dalen and Alrick Store on Main Street in Hayfield.

Claremont Police Chief Greg Lange – End of Watch July 5th 1988 – shot and killed while trying to save a young lady’s life during a domestic argument in Claremont just a few hundred feet from his home.

Hayfield Police Chief Douglas Claassen – End of Watch March 13th 1999 – died as a result of injuries he suffered during an assault. 

Dodge County Sheriff’s Captain Loring Guenther – End of Watch Sept 10, 2013 – died as a result of a heart attack. 

Seeing the flag brings me back to the memory of Chief Deputy Mike Leonhardt presenting the flag to Loring’s wife Deb at his funeral. 

The flag reminds us of the sacrifices these men made, while also reminding us of the great memories many of us have of them – memories shared by family and friends.

The flag reminds me of Sheriff Bill Weber who blessed me with the opportunity to serve as a new young deputy under him in 2002 – helping me start my journey here with the Sheriff’s Office. 

The flag makes me think of the many relatives of mine who served our country proudly in the armed services, like my Uncle PFC Harry Erickson who served as a medic in the bloody Battle of the Bulge on Christmas of 1944.     

My Great great Grandfather Ezekiel Rose who was shot and injured serving in the civil war.

My grandfather Emil Asleson who served as a special deputy with the Divide County Sheriff’s Office in North Dakota in the 40’s.

The flag makes me think of my father Bob Rose, who served with the Kasson Police Department from 1968 to 1979, then was hired by Sheriff Ernie Vanderhyde here at the Sheriff’s Office where he continued to serve part-time until he retired in 2000. 

The flag reminds me of many amazing people who have influenced me and made my life better.

The flag represents the amazing men and women who serve our community as paramedics or EMTs – some who are paid, many who are volunteers. It reminds me of the 10 paramedics/EMT’s who have died in the line of duty so far this year.

The flag represents the dozens of volunteer fireman in our county that risk their lives and volunteer their time to help protect the citizens of Dodge County.  Fireman that VOLUNTEER to risk their lives for us!  It represents the 66 fire fighters that have died in the line of duty so far this year in the US.   

The flag reminds me of all the brave men and women who have sacrificed both here and abroad serving in our armed forces, many who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice to help keep us free.   The flag represents the families of those military hero’s; the parents, spouses, and children of those who spent time away from their families risking all to ensure the freedoms we enjoy today.

The American flag is a symbol not only of hardiness, valor, purity, innocence, vigilance, perseverance and Justice; it is a symbol of freedom.  Freedom that has been fought so hard for over decades. Freedom that has cost this country and the families within so much, and yet it’s still a beacon to those wishing they had the freedom that our country has.

We fly this flag proudly outside our offices, military buildings, schools, public institutions, and our homes. It rests against walls and is draped carefully across caskets, honoring those who’ve given their lives defending it. It’s a symbol of freedom, of hope, and of our nation.

I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to talk to your kids, your grandkids, your family, and your friends about the flag. Talk about what it means to you and what it means to them. Talk to them about always respecting the flag, and remind them of all those who have sacrificed for it and of those who continue to sacrifice for us.  

To me the flag represents the very best our country has to offer – those willing to put it all on the line, both here and abroad -  to help keep America great, to help keep America safe, and to help keep American Free.

Your Sheriff,


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He was a young 25 year old rookie from Crystal Minnesota and a newcomer to SE Minnesota when he was hired at the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office. While Loring didn’t grow up in Dodge County, you never would have known it by the ownership and pride he showed every day he put on the uniform and served our county. His smile, his sense of humor, and his sense of right and wrong were infectious. He soon became a favorite at the Sheriff’s Office, with the public, and with our deputies. He was the guy that everyone wanted to be around, always the life of the party.

A few years into his career, after quickly developing life-long friends at the Sheriff’s Office, he married his best friend Deb at a small country church in Dodge County, right across the street from the hobby farm he would later purchase with Deb.

Loring came to the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office at a time when we were at a crossroads – he was the new young kid on the block; enthusiastic, positive, full of new ideas and the ambition to make them happen. Loring was perfect for a department that had fallen behind the bigger surrounding agencies with bigger budgets, better equipment, training, and technology. Like many of the smaller area agencies, Dodge had become a department that many young deputies would come and use as a stepping stone to get some experience and move on to larger higher paying agencies.

One of Loring’s many goals was to change that pattern, envisioning the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office as being current, progressive, and technology driven….one that young officers would want to come to work for and spend their careers here!

Loring was one of those guys who always strived to do the right thing and could care less who knew about it or recognized his involvement. This characteristic was seen year after year as he worked tirelessly to better our community, and better our Sheriff’s Office, always being an instrumental part in accomplishing many of the great improvement we've seen over the years, yet crediting everyone else for getting it done.  His positive, enthusiastic personality helped him quickly move up the ranks as a field training officer, firearms instructor, Training Sergeant, and finally as Captain, the third highest ranking officer in the county.  From self-defense, to firearms training, he also shared his law enforcement training experience by teaching law enforcement students at Rochester Community and Technical College for many years. In addition to all his responsibilities with the Sheriff's Office he was also active every year volunteering for the local Toys for Tots program, a program he felt very strongly about.

Co-workers describe Loring as being someone who would do anything for you, a strong, kind, thoughtful, and humble leader. He was a true leader by example in every way, and was respected by all who had contact with him. – he was one that believed the purpose of life was to be useful, honorable, compassionate, and to make a difference.

In law enforcement, we’re taught how to deal with the stress of working the streets – problem solving, dealing with domestics, assaults, car crashes, fatalities, etc. We’re taught how to deal with this in school, in skills, and on the job. We’re taught how to recognize the signs of this type of stress and we’re given the resources to get the help we need to deal with it.  While our training focuses on the daily stress we deal with out in the field, there is unfortunately little emphasis put on the challenges of stress within the workplace; stress with subordinates or co-workers, maybe the stress of a workplace with administrative challenges, or maybe conflicts directly with management.

With all of Loring’s talents, his management and supervisory experience, his amazing personality, his law enforcement knowledge and experience, his experience training new deputies, with all the years of patrol dealing with domestics, assaults, car crashes, and fatalities, Loring’s biggest challenge was dealing with workplace stress. Dealing with an administration he felt shared none of the leadership philosophies that Loring built his career on and truly believed in. Loring felt a responsibility to protect staff that he believed were being targeted and treated unfairly. Loring felt a responsibility to counsel everyone that was having problems with the workplace stress – problems that effected the health of many, and unfortunately in some cases effected their families, and their marriages.

Loring felt strong about this responsibility because we were his family, his law enforcement family, and he would do anything he could to protect us. Unfortunately, while Loring was always great at counseling others, he wasn’t one to talk about his own problems.

While he used to talk to his wife Deb and some of his close friends at the office about the stresses he was struggling with, at one point late in the summer of 2013, he stopped talking to anyone about work. One can only assume, knowing how protective he was of everyone, that he just didn’t want to burden anyone. What we didn’t know is in addition to an unknown onset to coronary artery disease, Loring had developed an enlarged heart, one the coroner indicated was likely the result of acute daily stress. While we suspect Loring may have been experiencing warning signs to these conditions for a while, it’s likely that he probably wrote them off to just being symptoms of stress from work. It was also likely that he didn’t want to burden anyone with these symptoms, which is probably why he adopted such an aggressive workout routine that he did every day after work – trying to manage the stress on his own.

Four years ago today - on the evening of September 10th 2013, at 43 years young, shortly after returning home from work, Loring died of a massive heart attack.

If Loring were here today he would want us to talk about managing stress. Not only the stress of the job, but the importance of managing and dealing with workplace stress. How vitally important it is to make sure you watch out for yourself, your fellow deputies and officers. Watch for warning signs of high stress; changes in eating patterns, increased smoking or drinking, changes in attendance, loss of motivation and confidence, negative or depressed feelings. If you or your co-workers are showing any of these signs, encourage them to talk to someone. To get checked out! Unfortunately, none of us knew the degree of stress Loring was dealing with. After Loring died, several in our office re-evaluated their health and went to their family doctors, some were ok - but there were a handful that had medical issues like anxiety and high blood pressure that needed to be treated, for most – these symptoms previously undiagnosed. Some were treated with medicine, some treated with counseling. We’re supposed to be tough, we’re cops, we should be able to handle the stress. It’s a tough for some to admit when they can’t. I was one of those guys – I ended up doing both counseling and medication to get things under control.

What kind of work environment are you working in? What kind of working environment are you encouraging and supporting for your staff? The stress, s out on the street might not be the only serious stress your staff is struggling with? If you are a Sheriff, a Chief, or part of a Command Staff, you have a responsibility to provide a positive, healthy, supportive work environment for your staff – our job already comes with enough stress! As leaders we shouldn’t compound this by creating undue stress in the office.

So far this year, we've lost 90 officers in the Line of Duty throughout the United States, including 9 who died of heart attacks. The stress of this job also contributes to well over 100 cop suicides a year in this country.

As we all know, workplace stress is by no means limited to just law enforcement - literally every line of work out there can be adversely affected by workplace stress. Hopefully by sharing Loring's story, we can help others dealing with stress at work to take it seriously, and to get checked out if you or a co-worker of yours is showing signs of problems related to stress. Also, if you supervise staff, we hope Loring's message reminds you that your actions can not only affect your staff's performance, but also your staff's health. Your position comes with a great deal of responsibility, far beyond your company's bottom line.

Thank you for taking these few minutes to help us remember Loring. He was an amazing leader, mentor and friend who taught us so much in his short time here, and unfortunately left us way too soon.  It's heroes like Loring who serve as constant reminders to us that it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years that count.

Thank you for taking these few minutes to help us remember Loring today.


Your Sheriff,


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With every call, every day, law enforcement officers are faced with potentially dangerous life threatening situations.  The officer may have to make split-second decisions that are just and right – but often times very difficult.  Many times after these events take place, the officer has a need to express his or her frustrations and problems to someone who fully understands the circumstances of the law enforcement world.   An officer may need to discuss his/her problems with someone who understands what (s)he is up against, yet is detached enough not to be emotionally involved or in a position that might affect the officer’s career.  

For law enforcement officers, trusting someone enough to confide in them about issues at work is probably one of the toughest things for us to do – we are supposed to be strong, non-emotional, and bullet proof.  We are supposed to be “robot like” when dealing with people in crisis.   No one career, in my opinion, is confronted with more situations that can demoralize and create extreme emotional and mental burdens than law enforcement. 

After looking at and dealing with a handful of devastating incidents over the past couple of years, and seeing that we really are lacking with this type of internal support system for our staff, the agencies that serve with us, and the victims we are there to help - I started researching the idea of starting a Sheriff’s Chaplain Program here in Dodge County.  Our local law enforcement officers, dispatchers, and first responders are out there day and night, 24/7 to help and protect us – we need to make sure they are taken care of too.   

Today, more than ever, our local law enforcement agencies need a resource for guidance, counseling and assistance to their officers, their families, and their communities. Also, the burden these officers take on can tremendously affect the officer’s family too – often the forgotten victims.   The officer’s own clergy person or religious advisor, although trained in the ministry, likely doesn’t have a good understanding of the particular problems law enforcement officers face.  In such cases, this is where a chaplain could listen with empathy, advise calmly, and offer assistance when such assistance is appropriate.  The chaplains are not there to proselytize (unless asked for religious advice or guidance), just to be an understanding ear and provide support and guidance with an open heart and mind.     

The need for this type of support also holds true for the dozens of fireman, first responders, and medical emergency staff that responds and serves alongside our officers every day.   

Over the past several months I’ve been meeting with a number of area ministers who are interested in being involved in a local chaplain program here.  We’ve brought in a handful of speakers and have looked at model programs from other city and county agencies.  

Here is an example of just a few areas where a Chaplain could assist:

• Participate in a ride-along program with patrol officers

• Respond to all major disasters such as fires, collapse of buildings, explosions, mass casualty events, unusual industrial accidents, and similar situations

• Assists officer with making death notifications

• Assist with suicide incidents

• Provide assistance to victims

• Serve as a member of the Crisis Response Team

• Visit sick and injured officers and departmental personnel at home or at the hospital

• Provide answers for religious questions (does not proselytize)

• Offers prayers at special occasions such as recruit graduations, award ceremonies, etc.

• Counsel members of the law enforcement community, sworn and non-sworn, as well as their families

 We currently have a number of ministers in the area who have expressed interest in being involved in this new program.  We would like to reach out to the rest of our ministers here in Dodge County to see if we have others who may be interested.   The more support we have from the different communities we serve, the more effective this program will be.

If you are a minister with at least 5 years of experience and the willingness to be available to respond to any situation where a chaplain’s presence may be needed, we would like to hear from you as we move forward and look for additional partners for this program.  Please email me your contact information and level of interest at so I can add you to our list.

If you are interested in supporting a program like this in our community, I would be interested in hearing from you too!

Thanks everyone for your input, your interest, and your show of support for this new program!  I am excited about getting started and really think our community will benefit from it! 

 Keep watching our Facebook page (@DCSOSheriff) and website ( for future updates!

Your Sheriff,


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Summer here in Dodge County is filled with fun events and festivals for family’s young and old.  Out of all of our summer events, the Dodge County Fair is by far the biggest event and busiest for our staff.  It’s an event I look forward to every year – I’ve been attending the Dodge County Fair since I was a kid growing up in Kasson.  The fair is a great place for everyone in the family, but please make sure to take steps to keep it a safe and fun experience for everyone.   

Please lock your vehicles and never leave valuables in them while enjoying the fair.  If you must leave items in the vehicle, make sure they aren’t visible from the window. 

Be careful to make sure everyone is safe crossing the street.  This is the worst week of the year for traffic in Kasson.  With all the distractions the fair crowd and traffic brings, don’t assume that the car coming down the road sees you and your kids.  Always keep your kids close and use intersections and crosswalks to get across the street.

While at the fair, parents and caregivers need to remember to keep a close eye on their children.  With everything there is to see at the fair, getting separated in a large crowd can happen very easily and can be very stressful for your family, your kids, and for law enforcement. If your kids are venturing to areas of the fairgrounds without you, have a planned meeting spot for everyone to meet at the end of the day. Make sure your kids know where and how to find a deputy if they get separated from you

We will have deputies in several areas of the fair again this year.  We’ll be patrolling the midway, the exhibit areas, and the grandstands.   We’ll have two areas where you can find deputies if you need assistance – the Sheriff’s Building (front of the bathroom building) at the main entrance of the fair, and our Emergency Command RV that will be parked southeast of the Four Seasons Arena building.  If you go to one of those locations and don’t find law enforcement, call our dispatch at 635-6200 and ask for a deputy to respond to your location. 

Make sure to stay hydrated.  We’ve had some warm and humid fair weeks in the past.  This can be dangerous to young and old if you aren’t drinking enough water and staying hydrated.  We will have cold drinking water at both of our locations available to the public. 

If you are allergic to bees – make sure you have your medication with you.  In the last few years we’ve had a handful of bee stings that have required medical attention.  If you or any of your kids are allergic to bee stings, make sure you have the proper medication with you in the event you encounter any bees at the fair.

Amusement Ride Safety.  Going on the amusement rides at the fair can be very exciting for people of all ages. No matter what your age make sure you remember safety. Make sure to read all the posted rules and instructions before going on. It is not a bad idea to watch the ride while in motion before going on to make sure you understand what will happen. Always obey the height, weight and age restrictions. Sneaking someone on who does not meet the requirements is very dangerous and can result in serious injury.

Safety in the animal buildings.  Visiting the animals is a must at the fair. The animal exhibits are also a very important area to keep safety in mind. Good hand-washing hygiene is a must around animals. There are several hand-washing stations available near the barns. Wash your hands both before and after being around animals even if you are not touching them.  Handwashing stations will be available outside the buildings. If you are with young children around the animals, make sure that they do not get too close to the animals and do not stick their fingers, feet, or anything else in cages. That could not only be harmful to them, but also the animals.

Be sure to have a sober driver.  Alcohol is served at all the grand stand events as well as in the beer garden.  We want everyone to come to the fair and have a great time, but if you plan on drinking alcohol please have a plan for a sober driver.     

These tips should not only be remembered at the Dodge County Fair, but any of the summer festivals you plan on attending with your family and friends this year.  The Dodge County Fair is a great place for family and friends to gather and there is always a ton of things to see and do.  Having safety in mind can help make it a fun and safe experience for all! 

Enjoy the fair everyone!  Hope to see you there!


Your Sheriff,


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I read an article this weekend written by a Gold Star Spouse entitled “When every day is Memorial Day”.  This young lady explains how she used to be the one who would said “Happy Memorial Day” because at the time she didn’t know any better.   She was like many other Americans - excited about getting ready for this long weekend, excited about vacation plans, hoping for good weather, and getting those last minute BBQ plans put together.  This was until the day she answered her door to Military Personnel notifying her that her husband had been killed.  He was an Army helicopter pilot, served 2 tours in Iraq and 2 tours in Afghanistan.  The meaning of Memorial Day forever changed that day for her and her family.

She said WE SHOULD enjoy our off times. That WE SHOULD enjoy this time with friends & family.  BUT, while we enjoy the freMEMORIAL DAY SPEECH - MAY 29TH, 2017edoms we celebrate here in the United States with family and friends this Memorial Day weekend, she encourages all to make the choice to incorporate the true meaning of Memorial Day somewhere into our celebrations.

We need to remember that some gave all, and their loved ones experience the cost of freedom, in every moment, of every day.    These grandparents, parents, husbands, wives, kids and grandkids who lost their loved ones while serving our country; for these folks who are our family, friends, our neighbors, our co-workers Every Day is Memorial Day, and this weekend is especially difficult for these families.

Memorial Day originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868.  On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate Soldiers buried there. The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in US history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. 

This past few weeks you may have noticed people around our county selling and displaying their red poppies. These poppies are made by veterans to honor fellow veterans and remember those lost – your donations assist disabled and hospitalized veterans, many from our community.  After World War I, the poppy flourished in Europe and quickly became a symbol of the sacrifices made by Americans and allied service members around the world.  Soldiers returning from WWI brought home the flowers in memory of the barren landscape transformed by the sudden growth of wild red poppies among the newly dug graves - unforgettably described in a memorial poem by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place….

and in the sky… the larks still bravely singing fly… scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago, We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved: and now we lie In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe

To you, from failing hands, we throw the torch….

be yours to hold it high - If ye break faith with us who die,

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields


Saturday my family held our annual cemetery tour to honor our ROSE family heritage and remember those who’ve past, and we talk every year about a number of relatives of ours who served this country proudly in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WWI, WWII, and others.  I’m proud to say, while I didn’t serve in the military, I have a number of relatives who served our country proudly.  None prouder than my Uncle Harry.

P.F.C. Harry L. Erickson


Private First Class Harry Lee Erickson, grew up in Chatfield and was drafted at age 20 in 1943 during WWII.  He had initially been selected for the Army’s Specialized Training Program for engineering yet he ended up on the front lines as a medic later participating in 4 major campaigns; on the battlefields in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany – including the bloody Battle of the Bulge on Christmas 1944.    He served alongside his best friend and fellow medic, Bert Taylor.  

Together they saw unspeakable tragedy and carnage, and saved hundreds of lives.  His Paperwork associated with his Bronze Star medal, one of many medals he was awarded for his service, cited “At one point, at dusk, where other medical soldiers and even tanks would not venture, PFC Harry Erickson drove his “peep” (they referred to Jeeps as Peeps) to give first aid and evacuate three of our men, who were seriously wounded, despite information received that there were enemy tanks lurking in the vicinity.”  Uncle Harry said he got to where he could recognize the sounds of the German Tanks versus ours, and he could hear them approaching as he drove in to help those three men – yet he continued without regard to his own safety. 

He recalled hearing mines go off in the mine fields, waiting for the screams, then for the calls for a medic, and then being the one to charge off into that mine field to attend to the wounded – often with unspeakable injuries.

We looked at a picture of him in his Jeep on Saturday – noticing he had no red cross or medic emblem on his helmet.  He had said that he didn’t like wearing the medic helmet because for a time the Germans were targeting the medics as they tended to our wounded.   He recalled going into battle areas to retrieve the wounded – hearing bullets hitting the ground around him and whizzing by his head – even though code of conduct in war stated soldiers were not to shoot at those tending to the wounded in combat zones.   

One day Uncle Harry recalled walking to the outdoor field kitchen, and the winter winds had uncovered frozen soldier’s bodies in the snow – some of these bodies were visible as you walked by.  He was asked by his supervisor to go out and move the bodies away from view…his supervisors concerned that this view would affect the moral of the of the soldiers there – not considering Uncle Harry’s moral at the time.

My Uncle Harry and his buddy Bert Taylor were amazing soldiers, they were American heroes.  Uncle Harry made it back after the war.  His best friend Bert Taylor did not – leaving behind a wife and twin boys he had only seen once while on a brief Army furlough.

Uncle Harry struggled with severe PTSD and constant nightmares following the war.  He would often sleep walk at night stating he was looking for his hole (referring to his foxhole).  He struggled most on anniversary days with the memories he simply wanted to forget – like Christmas which is when the Battle of the Bulge took place. 

My Uncle Harry is buried at Ft Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis – his request was that he be buried among his fellow veterans.  His Best friend, Private First Class Albert E. Taylor, died in Germany and is buried in Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium.  Bert never made it home – and Uncle Harry never got over the loss of his friend.  Uncle Harry carried Bert’s picture in his wallet until he died.

For Uncle Harry, Every day was Memorial Day.  Remembering all those he saw lose their lives fighting for our freedom – especially remembering his best friend Bert Taylor, who never made it back to the states.    

Many would argue that changing the calendar date of Memorial Day each year to create a three day weekend has undermined the very meaning of Memorial Day.   Has this three day kickoff to summer, as Memorial Day weekend is often referred to, contributed to the general public’s often nonchalant observance of Memorial Day?  Probably!

So what can we do to better honor the fallen?

-        Visit local or national cemetery’s and search out those who were Medal of Honor recipients.

-        Volunteer with your local Veterans Groups

-        Pause at 3pm for one minute today for the National Moment of Remembrance to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  At 3pm today a wreath will be laid before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

-        Educate yourself on Memorial Day and what it really means.

  • Visit a war memorial, war monument, or military museum

  • Buy and wear that red poppy

  • Talk to your kids about what today means

We share these things with you to remind you that there are people who move along every day that are carrying the weight of their loss - the loss of loved ones who died for our freedom.  I ask you to remember their sons and daughters, their husbands and wives, sisters, brothers, fathers, and mothers lost.  I ask you to remember their friends like Uncle Harry’s friend Bert Taylor.     

Use this Memorial Day to do something, even something small, to honor the fallen. Teach your kids about it. Then go for a bike ride, take your kids to the park, eat a burger and a hot dog, laugh until you cry, kiss your sweetheart - celebrate and appreciate your freedoms.  Too many died young in service of our country.  Too many didn’t get the luxury of growing old.

Remember, for many….Every Day is Memorial Day.

Your Sheriff,


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In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week.  That weekend, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world will converge on Washington DC to participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have made the ultimate sacrifice. 
When President Kennedy signed this proclamation, we had 155 men and women who had died in the Line of Duty here in Minnesota.  Fast forward to today, we’ve had 277 Minnesota Line of Duty deaths. 
This past year we’ve been fortunate enough here in Dodge County to be involved in a couple of important initiatives related to this important day….

After finding out “The Rest of the Story” with Hayfield Police Chief Douglas Claassen and his Line of Duty death in 1999, we were able to successfully get his name added to the Minnesota Law Enforcement Association’s Line of Duty Memorial, SE Minnesota’s LEMA Memorial, the national Officer Down Memorial Page, and finally engraved forever on the National Law Enforcement Memorial Wall in Washington DC.  With the help of many organizations including National COPS, MN COPS, MN100 Club,  Hayfield American Legion, and Hayfield Chamber of Commerce – we were able to assist the Claassen family to cover all expenses to fly their family to Washington DC to see Chief Claassen formally added to the national wall during Memorial Week.  Chief Claassen is also now memorialized on a plaque in the courthouse annex.  His badge is also displayed on the memorial graphics on all of our patrol squads.  We will never forget his service and sacrifice.

We’ve been working with Kasson resident Roger Berge, Senator Dave Senjem, and Representative Duane Quam on a bill proposal for a Minnesota specialty License plate to support the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association (LEMA).  Many attempts over the past several years to gain support at the Senate and House level for a LEMA license plate have fallen on deaf ears at the capitol.   This same group tried to promote this bill last year testifying before the Senate and it failed early on to get passed.  We tried again this year and with a great deal of effort between Roger Berge and Senator Senjem, this bill looks like it will finally be passed.  We’ll put out more information this month, but this will be the first law enforcement license plate in Minnesota and will directly benefit LEMA and surviving families of Line of Duty death victims.   We couldn’t be more proud to be involved in this huge accomplishment – an accomplishment that never would have happened without Roger Berge and Senator Senjem!
This Sunday May 14th the annual Standing of the Memorial Guard at the Peace Officers Memorial on the Minnesota State Capitol grounds will commence at 7pm.  Officers from all over Minnesota will travel to St. Paul where they will stand in silent vigil for 20 minutes shifts. This is done to keep alive the memories of the 277 fallen law enforcement officer in Minnesota who have lost their lives while protecting their communities.  This list includes four from our county; Hayfield Marshal Ole Havey, Claremont Police Chief Greg Lange, Hayfield Police Chief Doug Claassen, and Dodge County Sheriff’s Captain Loring Guenther.  This vigil will continue throughout the night and until the following day when the officers will complete the standing of the guard at 7pm Monday night.  We will then honor all law enforcement officers who have given their lives in the line of duty in Minnesota and nationwide with a candlelight service there at the memorial.   

On May 15th, I ask that you to please remember these great men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to help keep our county, our state, and our country safe.  It’s also just as important to remember the families of the fallen, on this day and always, to show them your support and appreciation.  While every day can certainly be a challenge for the family and friends of the fallen, this can be an especially tough week.

Remember, to fully appreciate the heroes of the present, we must recognize our heroes of the past.
Your Sheriff,
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March 2017

On March 3rd we charged a young man from Rochester for 2nd degree and 3rd degree murder for selling Heroin laced with Fentanyl to another young man in Dodge Center – who died from an overdose.   The message we want to send is clear – if you sell drugs in our county, we’ll come after you.  If you sell drugs in our county and someone dies because of it – we’ll use every resource we have to find you and prosecute you to the fullest extent.

While 2016 numbers aren’t available yet, 2015 numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate more than 50,000 people died from drug overdoses.  These numbers have skyrocketed with the increased use of heroin and prescription opioid pain killers.

Heroin deaths rose 23% to nearly 13,000 – higher than the number of gun homicides nationwide.  Deaths from opioids, including fentanyl, rose 73%.


 Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic used to treat patients with severe pain or manage pain after surgery.  Fentanyl is a synthetic cousin to heroin, and it is deadly.  On the left in this picture is a lethal dose of heroin, equivalent to about 30 milligrams; on the right is a 3 milligram dose of fentanyl, enough to kill an adult.   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than morphine and can be 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin.

It works by binding to the brain's opiate receptors to drive up dopamine levels and produce a state of euphoria and relaxation. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that cutting fentanyl with street-sold heroin amplifies its potency and potential danger. Effects can include drowsiness, respiratory depression and arrest, nausea, confusion, constipation, unconsciousness, coma and death.

Drug users often don’t know when their heroin is laced with fentanyl, so when they inject their usual quantity of heroin, they can inadvertently take a fatal dose.  While dealers try to include fentanyl to improve potency, their measuring equipment usually isn’t fine-tuned enough to ensure they stay below the lethal levels that could cause the user to overdose. The other problem is the fentanyl sold on the street is almost always made in a clandestine lab – much of it reportedly coming from China.  It is much less pure than the pharmaceutical version and thus its effect on the body can be more unpredictable.

Another alarming discovery is in some parts of the country, dealers are marketing OxyContin and other prescription pain killer pills that are actually fentanyl laced pills – fake prescription pills manufactured in somebody’s basement or warehouse.  Some addicts use prescription pain killers because they believe they are safe.  Just because it looks like a legitimate prescription pill, doesn’t mean it is anymore.
With the dangerous potency of fentanyl, and the increased use of it in illegal drug sales across the country, if you are using heroin or prescription pills bought on the street – you are playing Russian roulette with your life!  

Many overdoses from opioids like heroin, and prescription pills like morphine and oxy end in the subject’s breathing slowing down and eventually stopping.  It can be very hard to wake them up from this state.  Narcan (naloxone) is an opiate antidote that blocks the effects of the drug, helping the subject start breathing again.  Dodge Center Ambulance Service is now carrying Narcan on their ambulances to help us combat this terrible drug.

If you know someone who is using heroin or fentanyl, it’s only a matter of time before they overdose or worse.   You need to get them help – whatever it takes.  You can call your local law enforcement and talk to them about your concerns and get suggestions.  If you have any information regarding someone selling and drugs – especially prescriptions, heroin and/or fentanyl – please contact law enforcement right away.  You may likely save someone’s life reporting it.  As always – remember you can remain anonymous.

 Your Sheriff,


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Feb 2017

Some wonder….why now?   This month we honored a fallen officer who had never been formally recognized for his service and sacrifice - who's death was deemed a line of duty death, yet he was never recognized for it.  His injury occured during an assault in 1977 ultimately resulting in his death in 1999.  Why was this so important nearly 40 years after the incident, and 18 years following his death?  Why was it so important that we took the time to formally honor Hayfield Police (and part-time Dodge County Deputy) Chief Doug Claassen for his service and his sacrifice?

Nearly 1,500 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 10 years.  That’s an average of nearly one death every 60 hours – 142 law enforcement heroes paid the ultimate sacrifice last year. Nearly 60,000 assaults against law enforcement are reported annually, resulting in around 15,000 injures every year.  Assaults like the incident where Doug was injured in 1977.

Here in SE Minnesota, 140 brave men and women have died while serving to keep our communities safe. 

In Dodge County we’ve had 4 line of Duty deaths since the County was formed (2 in Hayfield, 1 in Claremont, and 1 in the County).  Most greater Minnesota counties have zero, one, or two Line of Duty deaths in their history.  Unfortunately we’ve suffered more losses than most, especially in Hayfield.   Why?  Nobody knows.  What we do know is that we can never forget the service a sacrifice of these great men.

Law enforcement officers and their families are part of a unique culture. There is no other profession in our society that serves quite the same role, or faces quite the same risks as a matter of course in their everyday work life.   This culture also creates a unique set of challenges for the families of these men and women.  Law Enforcement officers work nights, weekends, and holidays.  They miss special family dates – birthdays, anniversaries, school events, band concerts, choir concerts, sporting events, etc.  They are on heightened alert daily and need to be on guard and watch their backs both at work and off-duty with their families.  Their kids may get teased or worse at school and must know to watch their backs as well.  Officers work under the public microscope every day and know that the actions they take in a split second will be arm-chair quarterbacked by many – lawyers, media, and community.  They understand they will be held to a higher standard than others both on and off duty – which in turn means their kids are held to a higher standard as well.  For many, this career will not likely pay enough for them to avoid needing a part-time job to raise a family and make ends meet – so not only do they miss many special family events in order to protect you and me, they also must spend time away from family to simply help pay the bills.  These are truly amazing and giving people!

Every day or night when these men and women go to work, they hug their families and tell them they love them knowing that every time they go out the door with that badge – they may be injured or killed in the Line of Duty.   While this stress can wear on the officer, it most certainly wears on the families watching him or her go out that door each day.  I know that first hand growing up with a father who was in law enforcement. 

When an officer is hurt, or dies as a result of violence, the ripple effect it causes can be traumatic – for the officer, for the officer’s family, for his/her fellow officers, and for the communities they serve.    

The Claassen family lived and sacrificed everyday Doug served Hayfield and this county, sacrifices the family made in order to do their part to help keep our community safe.  Then Doug was injured.  The Claassen family lived and sacrificed for years with the debilitating effects of his spinal cord injury until he passed away in 1999.  

For fallen Law Enforcement Officer’s surviving families, their sacrifice never ends.  It’s important for us as a society, to always honor all fallen officers for their service to our communities, and to recognize their families for their sacrifice.  We need to be there to support the families of the fallen - always.   We need to make sure they know the appreciation we have for them, that we will always be there to support them, and ensure for them that their loved one’s sacrifice will never be forgotten.    Its families like these, with the sacrifices they’ve made, that make Dodge County such an amazing place to live.  It’s important for the Havey, Lange, Claassen, and Guenther families to know their husband, grandson, son, father, grandfather, and/or uncle was a hero!   We owe it to these families to make sure these men’s service and sacrifice, as well as all the sacrifices their families have made for our community, both before and after their death, are NEVER FORGOTTEN.     

That’s why!

Your Sheriff,


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Jan 2017

Recently, we’ve done some training that has gained local media attention:  The Active Shooter Training we did in the Dodge County Courthouse in December, and the Simulation Training (shoot/no shoot scenarios) that we did last week.   The majority of responses we heard about our efforts were very positive.  However, I also heard a few critical of our training – that we should focus on more realistic training for our area, on crisis intervention training, or training on mental illness response.  
While we certainly appreciate hearing the positive comments, I think it’s also important we respond to those questioning our efforts.  First of all, let’s address the “realistic” comment. …

In our Active Shooter training we focused on the challenges of responding to a mass shooting (4+ victims injured or killed excluding the subject/suspect/perpetrator, one location).  In the first 15 days of 2017 there were 13 Mass Shooting incidents recorded nationwide – from Winstonville Mississippi (population 191) to Chicago Illinois, an average of nearly one a day.   

Recently, we’ve had officer involved shootings in Mankato, Austin, Fillmore County, and here in Dodge County in Hayfield.    So to suggest that officer involved shootings aren’t realistic here in SE Minnesota is unfortunately not true.  In 2016, there were 16 fatal officer-involved shootings in Minnesota.  While these numbers are a far cry from the numbers seen in states like Illinois, they are still concerning for everyone.  When you look at the facts, you’ll see it’s training like this that can help prevent fatal officer-involved shootings.

Let’s address the comment regarding our needing to focus more on mental illness response.   In Simulation Training we put our deputies in real life scenarios to learn how to safely respond to high stress situations, often where mental illness is a factor, and where weapons may be involved.   More importantly we focus on alternative techniques and options available to de-escalate and avoid having to shoot a suspect – with communication and/or less lethal force options.   Our deputy’s most important tool or weapon isn’t found on their duty belt, it’s between their ears - their communication skillset.  We call it “verbal judo” - using one's words to prevent, de-escalate, or end an attempted assault or attack. The simulator provides our deputies realistic training where we can coach them on verbal de-escalation, while also training on how to respond when there is either no time for “verbal judo”, when it may be ineffective, or simply when use of force is necessary to protect the deputy or others involved or in the area.    

Do we send our deputies to Crisis Intervention Training to learn how to deal with Mental illness – sure we do.   But this training puts our men and women in situations where they have to make split second decisions, deciding how to best react and end a volatile and dangerous situation.  You don’t get this kind of training in a book, classroom, or table top discussion.  This gives us and our deputies an opportunity to see how they handle stressful situations like this first hand.

Too often we see emotional responses to law enforcement tactics and training without any facts to back them up.  We recently observed how our Active Shooter Training, which included multiple agency response tactics, incident command training, and mass casualty recovery - really helped in our response to the McNeilus explosion in Dodge Center.  

Before you so quickly criticize law enforcement, a profession often twisted and misrepresented in the main stream media and in Hollywood, I suggest a better alternative might be to educate yourself first -  talk with your local law enforcement and ask questions, sit in on training that you question, participate in a ride-along, etc.  Our tactics and training tools that are most often criticized may someday save your life.
Your Sheriff,

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Dec 2016

It’s Christmas Eve.  While you and your family celebrate the holidays together at home with relatives, we are patrolling your neighborhood tonight – checking your property, your yard, your streets, looking for anything or anyone out of place.  We are the ones that venture into the dark, not knowing what if anything awaits us, often to protect many of you we have never even met.    

You spend the evening with your family warm and safe indoors, many enjoying a few drinks in front of a warm fireplace.  We’re outside trying to stay warm, dealing with the winter elements - freezing rain, snow, sometimes dangerous road conditions, or maybe even a blizzard.  We’re out there waiting for our 911 Dispatchers to advise us when someone else in the county needs our help.   

You’ve got your kids with you, maybe grandkids, also grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.  The whole family is together for this joyous occasion.   Our families are spending another holiday without us.  This was our year to work.  Hopefully we make the rotation next year so we can take time off for them. They understand we make these sacrifices to help keep our communities safe, to help people in need, and to do our little part to make our communities a better place for them to live in.  They understand our sacrifices are also their sacrifices. 

Your Christmas Eve dinner is ready.  All the family has pitched in to make a huge holiday feast for everyone there.  The smell of Turkey, Ham, and warm pie fill the air, those smells that make us think of Christmas’s past.  The house also smells of fresh pine from the real Christmas tree in the living room.    We’ve been busy tonight so we haven’t had a chance to get much for a meal - chips and a pop at the local gas station, maybe a piece of pizza or pre-made sandwich.  Later we’ll stop in to check on our gas station attendants who are also sacrificing on Christmas.  We’ll refill our coffee cups and continue our patrols thru the night. 

You’ve finally got the kids to settle down for the night, all excited about presents and that visit from Santa overnight.  Everyone’s tucked in for a warm night’s sleep.  If we are lucky enough to live in the zone we work in, we’ll try and stop by to say goodnight to the kids.  If we’re too busy, we’ll just have to call when we can.  We’ll wish them Merry Christmas over the phone and say goodnight to the kids.  Hopefully we can call before they go to bed. 

Your kids are in bed and now its adult time - you sit and play cards, games, and visit with family and loved ones reminiscing about the night you just had and memories of Christmas past.   We’re patrolling your neighborhoods while thinking about a crash we worked a few months ago where we pulled two kids from the wreckage, two that didn’t make it.  It’s hard to forget that reaction we get when we have to tell parents their kids are gone – or the emotional feeling of just wanting to go home and hug our kids and tell them that we love them.  We worry about those parents tonight.  We hope and pray we don’t get another crash like that tonight on Christmas.     

Your kids wake you up early, all excited about opening Santa’s presents and celebrating Christmas Day.  You’re rested and ready to share this amazing day with your family.  We’ve been asleep for an hour or two before our kids are waking us up excited about opening Santa’s presents and celebrating Christmas Day.   We finally finished our shift a few hours earlier after a busy evening and quietly sneaked into our homes around 5am.  We took off our uniforms, grabbed a quick snack from last night’s big meal, and headed to bed trying not to wake up the kids or our spouse.  We’ll go downstairs now and see the kids open their gifts, while trying not to think about some of the things that we saw last night.  Then it’s back to bed for a better part of Christmas Day.  We’ll go back to work at 6pm and do it all over again. 

Inspite all of the sacrifices many of us will make this Christmas, and the anti-law enforcement rhetoric we endure from the main stream media and other radical groups, we remain very proud of this profession that we love.  We’re proud of our uniform, we’re proud of our badge, and we’re extremely proud of our flag.  We couldn’t imagine doing anything else.  Helping you is our calling, it’s our passion, and it’s truly what motivates us. 

The intent of this column is not to make you feel sorry for law enforcement, it’s simply to remind you of some of the sacrifices these men and women make for our communities.  Hopefully it also makes you think about the sacrifices made by all our public safety partners serving our communities over the holidays – our 911 Dispatchers working to keep everyone safe, our local Ambulance and Fire Department members (many who are volunteers) working side by side with us on emergency calls, and the medical professionals saving lives at our area hospitals.  Don’t forget our local tow companies who are also out there helping us day and night.  This Christmas, if you see your local law enforcement or public safety professionals out working the streets, take a minute to thank them for their service and sacrifice.  Your “thank you” means a lot to all of them, especially during the holidays.
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Nov 2016

When it comes to protecting our county and the communities within it, we are only as good as the information we have to work with.  In other words, the more information we can gather on illegal or suspicious activities within our county, the better we can serve you.  Which is why I often sound like a broken record when I say, “I’d rather you call our office 20 times and have all of them be false alarms, versus you not calling one time resulting in someone getting victimized or worse.” 

Many of the major cases we have solved over the years have been done in part by the information provided by the public. We’ve also prevented many crimes by responding to suspicious vehicle or circumstances reports called in by watchful citizens.

Public Safety is not only our responsibility as law enforcement, it’s also your responsibility as citizens.  If you see suspicious activity, please call it in.  YOU CAN ALWAYS REMAIN ANONYMOUS.  Some activity called in by the public include:

Driving Conduct – Many DWI arrests are the result of watchful motorists willing to call in erratic or dangerous driving.  This saves lives.

Suspicious Vehicles – Only you will recognize unusual traffic or vehicles in your neighborhood, vehicles that don’t belong, vehicles you don’t recognize as local.  We’ve arrested a number of people based on these calls; people who were about to victimize someone, people who had already burglarized properties or otherwise victimized your neighbors.  You could prevent your family or your neighbor’s family from becoming victims.

Suspicious Activity – You are the first one that will recognize suspicious activity in your neighborhood.  We’ve had citizens call in suspicious activity in homes or properties that should be empty.  Maybe the property belonged to a snowbird, or someone who works nights or away from home.  These calls have resulted in arrests where we’ve caught burglars, or stopped or prevented burglaries.

Threats – When someone is threatening to do harm to a family member, employer, or school, they often talk about it or give clues based on their behavior, social media posts, threats, etc.  Usually there are indicators – these indicators are often only noticed by those close to them.  Your phone call could save many lives in this scenario – including the life of your friend or family member.

Narcotics Activity – If you see properties or areas in your community that have unusual traffic that comes and goes in part of your neighborhood, or to a home or apartment in your neighborhood – call it in.  Report it.    If you are aware of drug activity, hear someone talking about use or problems with drugs, see concerning posts on social media – report it!   Your phone call may save that person’s life.

A number of the recent terrorism and mass shooting incidents in our country and abroad all had pre-incident indicators – often suspicious activity that was never reported. 

Fortunately, we have great people here in Dodge County.  Great people who take great ownership in their communities – citizens who are willing to call in this type of activity.  The easiest rule of thumb to live by is this – if something concerns you enough to make you wonder if you should call us – CALL US!!   As I said before, we’d rather respond to false alarms all night to avoid missing an opportunity to help someone!  
If it’s activity that is going on right now, call our Dispatch Center at 507-635-6200 and report it.   If it’s ongoing activity, observations, or concerns that you have you can contact us a number of ways:

(Follow us on Twitter and “like” our Facebook page to get the latest information from our office.)
If you see something, say something!!!  Be a part of the solution!  As I said before, public safety is all of our responsibility.   By working together, we can all work to continue to make Dodge County an amazing community to raise our families.  

If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call me at the office or email me at   Thank you!

 Your Sheriff,


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Oct 2016
Election Day is right around the corner, and if you are like my wife Rosie, the end can’t come soon enough.  While I’m somewhat of a political junkie and enjoy watching the process, I am also tiring of the nation coverage and ready to move on.  Fortunately we aren’t in an election year here at the Sheriff’s Office so we can focus on 2017 and beyond.

One major topic of discussion during this political year has been law enforcement and community relations, more specifically minority relations.  Unfortunately, these discussions are often clouded by the politics of a few organizations who have been given a platform by the nation media to convey their negative anti-law enforcement rhetoric, often inciting unrest and violence towards law enforcement officers.  

With all the negative national press regarding law enforcement, and the false narrative that systematic racism exists within all law enforcement agencies, it’s more important than ever for us to continue to work towards improving communications with EVERYONE in the communities we serve - regardless of color, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.  This means promoting positive one-on-one contact with the public thru community policing efforts and local events.   It means continuing our School Resource Officer programs in all three school districts in the county.  It means continuing to educate kids with our DARE program in all three school districts.   It means being involved in charitable events that support our local community.   It means supporting our volunteer Fire Departments and Ambulance Services at their various fund raisers and community programs.  It means continuing to improve communications with the public - using tools like Code Red, Facebook, Twitter, and our great local newspapers.    It means continuing to educate our staff on issues that are important to our community; minority relations, mental health challenges, addiction, and proactive and positive policing strategies.  While we don’t face a lot of the complex challenges that the bigger communities face, that doesn’t make these issues any less important to our staff.  

Communication is key to successful policing.  My door is always open to any of our county residents interested in discussing issues or concerns within our community.  While I always love hearing the positives from the public regarding our staff and their work, it’s equally important that county residents are comfortable enough to come in and share any criticisms or concerns they have about us as well.  If I’m not in due to my schedule, Chief Deputy Leonhardt or Captain Anderson would also be happy to talk with you.  If they aren’t available, ask for the Sergeant on duty.  If you have questions specific to your community, stop and talk to the patrol deputy working your area.  If your question is related to something in the schools, talk to our School Resource Officers.  Our goal is for the public to be comfortable enough to approach any of our staff regarding their concerns.    

The first step in making sure we are providing the quality of law enforcement our community has come to expect is to continue to build strong relations with EVERYONE in our community - so we can work together to solve problems and issues that affect all of us.     

The greatest measure of our success is the public’s satisfaction.  This is not something we take lightly and will continue to work every day to improve.  Please let us know if you have any suggestions, questions, or concerns.

Make sure you get out and vote on Tuesday November 8th!!

Your Sheriff,


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Aug 2016

What prompted you to write this piece? Why did you feel that this was the proper forum to address this subject?     I think it’s important to remind our communities here in Dodge County the quality of Deputies we have here serving and the high standards we hold them to.    Utilizing the local county newspapers is a great way to reach the citizens of our county.

 As a public elected official, do you feel that your piece may alienate members of the minority communities that live in your county that you serve? Could you explain?    As a public elected official, I believe it’s my responsibility to share beliefs and stories like this in an effort to reach out to those we serve to reinforce the fact that we have a diverse group of men and women who are committed to equally serving everyone in our community, regardless of color.  It’s equally important to reinforce the fact that the negative anti-law enforcement rhetoric that we’ve endured in our state and nationwide is not an accurate reflection of law enforcement in our county.           

 Was this piece written as a stance from the sheriff or as an individual?  I think my columns are a combination of both.  My stances as Sheriff are in great part due to my upbringing, core beliefs, experiences, training, and leadership philosophy.    

Was this the first instance that anyone from your office encountered a comment like this in the area? Were there ever incidents in race relations during your time within Dodge County?   I rarely ever hear about any racial comments like this made towards our deputies – that’s why it got my attention.  I don’t recall any “incidents” of race relations here in Dodge County since I’ve been here. 

As the head of the Sheriff’s Office, what responsibilities do you have in a situation such as this where a deputy is called a racist? What particularly about this incident caused you to write this piece? Have law enforcement not dealt with any other situation where a suspect was insulting an officer?   We are very fortunate to live and work in a community that is very supportive of law enforcement.  When I hear about comments like this it’s my responsibility as Sheriff to review any allegations to ensure our staff handled the incident in a professional and respectful manner – to ensure allegations like these against our men and women are unfounded – or respond appropriately if something was handled improperly.        

 Are there any plans to train your office in race relations? Do you feel that is necessary?   Race relations are often incorporated into various trainings that we currently participate in.    

 There was this particular sentence in your piece that stated “Today I’m sad to say that I find myself being more guarded and cautious dealing with someone who is African-American, not because they are black, but because I worry now that they now assume I am racist because of my badge.” Do you feel that you are able to perform your duty as sheriff in protecting all residents in your county if you hold that particular feeling toward a community? Why do you feel that way, and what has changed in your perception of the black community?    I believe an important part of addressing racial concerns in our communities is being honest on both sides.  It’s important for us in law enforcement to better understand the concerns minority groups have in our communities.   We recognize that here in Minnesota and nationwide, minority groups have many valid concerns that our law enforcement and our communities should be discussing.   It’s also equally important for us to be honest about the impact and actions of some of these groups have on the men and women who serve in law enforcement.   My statement was bluntly honest – I find myself questioning now when I have contact with someone in our community who is African American – do they assume I’m racist because of my badge?  Prior to Black Lives Matter, this connection never crossed my mind.  I still don’t judge anyone by the color of their skin and never will - I equally hope they won’t judge me because I wear a badge.  While I recognize that there are many involved with organizations like Black Lives Matter that truly want to make a difference with minority relations, these groups often fail to call out inappropriate or illegal behavior within their protests causing more harm than good – overshadowing their good intentions.  It’s my responsibility as Sheriff to ensure we continue to maintain good minority relations within our community and respond to all incidents equally and appropriately – and to take action if they are not.  It’s also my responsibility to back up our staff and call out any allegations against our agency when they’re determined to be unfounded. 

  Dodge County statistically is comprised of 97.2 percent white people, and 0.7 percent African American according to the most recent U.S. Census numbers. Do you think it’s fair to compare the issues of Dodge County where there is little ethnic diversity to incidents that have occurred in larger metropolitan areas such as St. Paul where racial diversity is higher?   While I recognize there are incidents of racism within law enforcement that need to be addressed throughout the country, I believe it’s dangerous when leaders in our state and national governments, along with organizations like Black Lives Matter, suggest  (without facts to back it up) that systematic racism is a widespread problem within all law enforcement agencies nationwide – this only fuels anti-law enforcement rhetoric and behavior that negatively affects all of us in this profession – regardless of the size or the diversity of our communities.    

 As a public elected official, do you feel that your piece may alienate members of the minority communities that live in your county that you serve? Could you explain?    As a public elected official, I believe it’s my responsibility to share beliefs and stories like this in an effort to reach out to those we serve to reinforce the fact that we have a diverse group of men and women who are committed to equally serving everyone in our community, regardless of color.  It’s equally important to reinforce the fact that the negative anti-law enforcement rhetoric that we’ve endured in our state and nationwide is not an accurate reflection of law enforcement in our county.          

Have you ever reached out to the local chapter of Black Lives Matter organization or have been reached out to from them to start a conversation about their organization and movement? Would you ever consider doing so?  I have no interest in meeting with BLM about race relations in our county.  My office door is always open to discuss any issues and/or concerns with those living in the communities we serve.  I believe we can best address local concerns with local citizens who have a vested interest in our county. 

Your Sheriff,


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August 2016

I had a Deputy walk in my office last week and tell me, “I was called a racist today on a traffic stop!”  With everything going on in our state and nationwide, that obviously got my attention.  He continued to explain how he had done a traffic stop and wrote the gentleman a ticket for not having a valid driver’s license.  Apparently because of these actions, the driver (who was African American) accused him of being racist.  Really?

For those of you that don’t know my background, I grew up in Dodge County and attended K-12th grade in Kasson.  My father was a career long teacher and a deputy while my mom stayed home and raised me and three brothers.   Growing up here, the only non-white students I can really remember were the foreign exchange students.  We weren’t very diverse in the 70’s and early 80’s here in Dodge.  As kids, we all really enjoyed these students – learning about their new culture while sharing ours.  I still keep in contact with some today via Facebook.

When I went to broadcasting school in Phoenix Arizona I met my first openly gay friend, a fellow broadcasting student.  While I didn’t pretend to understand what he was going thru, I did stick up for him when others picked on him.   When I moved to my first broadcasting job in SE Nebraska in 1988, I became friends with the radio station’s consultant who was from Memphis Tennessee.  Leon and I ended up being roommates there and have been lifelong friends since.  Leon was a large black man with a big heart and even bigger smile.  I learned so much from that man while working for that company, both about the radio business and about people.        

As an adult I now have relatives that are African American, South African, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Canadian, European, and Australian. I have relatives that are straight, and I have relatives that are gay.  In my career in law enforcement, I’ve had the opportunity to work with great people from all backgrounds – I’ve worked with deputies and officers that are Mexican, African American, Haitian, and Asian, male, female, homosexual, and lesbian.   I love my family and my law enforcement family – and I enjoy the diversity we have.  I love learning about history and of different cultures.    I’m sure our deputies and other staff have stories very similar to mine.  

The blanket label of racism that some groups are placing on law enforcement nationwide has proven dangerous and divisive.  It frustrates me to no end that someone may assume that because I wear a badge, I’m racist?  They couldn’t be further from the truth, which is usually the case with career law enforcement officers – especially with our staff.  While I know there are many involved with good intentions, movements like Black Lives Matter lose any credibility with law enforcement when they stand silent while officers are murdered and groups riot cities and destroy businesses in the name of BLM.  While their movement was started to address racism, when they turn a blind eye to violence against cops it does nothing more than fuel race tensions within the law enforcement community.  With their actions, or lack of action in many instances, they’ve in essence become part of the problem, not the solution.   For example, prior to BLM, I don’t recall ever thinking about black people differently when dealing with them as a deputy.   Today, I’m sad to say that I find myself being more guarded and cautious when dealing with someone who is African American while in uniform – not because they are black - but because I worry now that they now assume I am racist because of my badge.  Is this the BLM affect?   How is this helping race relations?   Sadly, regardless of good intentions, I fear organizations like BLM are only making things worse.  Shooting related deaths for law enforcement officers is up 78% compared to this same time last year.  In the past few weeks we’ve suffered mass shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge where officers were targeted simply because they were cops – five died in Dallas and three in Baton Rouge with many more injured.    

I wish I could tell you I have the answers on how to fix this, but I don’t.  I get so frustrated watching the national news and seeing many of our leaders, state and national, choosing politics over peace officers.  I can tell you that we have an amazing group of men and women serving in this county.  While we’ve been fortunate enough not to have any issues since I’ve been here, we do not and will not tolerate any semblance of racism within our organization.  That I can tell you with utmost confidence. 
If you are stopped and get a ticket from one of our deputies for driving with an invalid driver’s license, or any other crime for that matter – you got the ticket or were charged because you broke the law.  Period.  Not because of the color of your skin.  That I can also tell you with utmost confidence. 
Thanks to all who’ve shown our staff your support over these past weeks and months.  Even the smallest gesture of appreciation means a lot to our men and women who serve.

Your Sheriff,


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July 2016

Shocked, saddened, concerned, frustrated, and angry. These are some of the expressions I saw in our office last week after the Dallas Shootings.  Last Thursday America witnessed one of the most deadly ambush and assassinations of law enforcement officers in US History.  

We have a system of justice in this country - a system that we must give a chance to work.  In today’s society, cases like those in Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights involving law enforcement are often judged within hours of the incident - emotional responses formed from social media posts and/or cell phone video long before all the facts of these cases are known.  This rush to judgement without the facts is dangerous, fueling incidents like we experienced in Dallas last Thursday, and with the violent protests over the weekend.  Our Governor’s response to the Falcon Heights incident is a perfect example of this.  His comments implied the St. Anthony officer’s actions were driven by his being racist, further suggesting by his statements that we are faced with the issue that this kind of racism exists within law enforcement here in Minnesota.  Our President’s emotional response cited incidents like ours in Falcon Heights are symptomatic of broader problems within law enforcement.  All this before few if any facts had been released about these incidents.  What happened to these officers’ right to due process?  What happened to our leaderships’ responsibility to remain impartial and unbiased?  Its statements like these from our leaders that further fuels the anti-law enforcement movement we are facing in this country, making our jobs even more dangerous than it already is – evident by the information released indicating the shooter in Dallas was angered by the incidents in Louisiana and Minnesota this week.  Statements, in my opinion, that were irresponsible and very disappointing.

The emotional response to incidents like Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights continue to shed a very dark light on our profession – events sensationalized by national media when in reality, they are highlighting the bad decisions made by a fraction of a percentage of nearly 1,000,000 dedicated law enforcement officers nationwide - law enforcement officers that have taken on responsibilities and risks in their respective communities that most would never consider.  With incidents like Ferguson for example, we often see victims’ families and friends, along with organizations like Black Lives Matter, politicizing these emotional responses nationwide thru social and main stream media within hours of the incident – while law enforcement may need days and weeks to gather all the facts and respond.  Facts that often show the officer was reasonable and/or appropriate in his/her actions long after they’ve been convicted guilty by public opinion. 

If I sound a little defensive, it’s because I take great offense when the media and some of our state and national leadership politicize incidents like these - painting our national law enforcement as cold, calculated, racist, uncaring, trigger happy cops.  Minnesota has some of the best trained law enforcement in the country – one of the few states requiring a law enforcement degree to be licensed.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, here locally in Dodge County we have an amazing team of men and women serving our community.  For example, their dedication evident by the quality and numbers of public comments and commendations warranting Supervisory Letters of Appreciation that we award each year.  These are letters are presented to Deputies by their supervisors when they go above and beyond the call, and when the public reaches out to recognize exceptional staff with comments like:
“Your Deputies, Dispatchers, and 1st responders involved my medical emergency were the most compassionate, caring and professional people I’ve ever dealt with….”
“We really appreciate you always stopping in and chatting with staff and customers.  We’ve noticed our customers are also becoming more comfortable with the Sheriff’s Office….”
“The kids really appreciated that you took the time to stop and interact and get to know them.  These children now have a high respect for you….”
I could not be more proud of the men and women who serve the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office.  We recognize here in Dodge County our primary mission is helping people.  A mission best accomplished by an agency full of men and women willing to take true ownership in the communities they’re sworn to serve and protect.  With this belief we are working hard to continue to hire and maintain staff with that same mentality and ethic.  The community’s satisfaction with our staff and our services is the single greatest measure of our success.  We will continue to remain positive and professional while proactively and aggressively addressing the problems and challenges our communities face here in Dodge County.      
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the Dallas Officers who were injured and killed last week. 
Your Sheriff,

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June 2016

Your son is a senior in High School, some of the best years of his life.  He is doing very well in school, he’s active in his community, and he’s planning on going into the Marines in the fall.  You’ve got a graduation to plan.  A Grad Party to get ready for.  Your son, who has also been serving as a volunteer fire fighter, has decided to do his senior project on the dangers of distracted or impaired driving. Things couldn’t be better.  It’s going to be a great year.

Then you get that phone call….your son is gone. 

The Maas Family in Dodge Center lived this nightmare this year when their son Logan was killed in a car accident last winter.   He was not wearing his seatbelt – which would have saved his life. 

The effects of his loss could be seen throughout Triton High School on Sunday June 5th, graduation day.  His classmates wore an orange cord in his memory and released orange balloons after the ceremony.  His diploma and orange cord were presented to Matt and Julie, his parents.  His absence was felt by everyone.

As the Maas family goes thru the grieving process trying to figure out how to move on with their lives without Logan, one fact is very clear to them – Logan would want them to use his story to remind everyone the importance of seatbelt use.  He would want his story to be used to help save lives. 

In 2015, Logan and 90 other unbelted motorists lost their lives on Minnesota Roads.  While we have a 94 percent compliance for front seatbelts, we obviously still have a lot of work to do. 
Logan was a rear passenger in the vehicle he was riding in.  In Minnesota, the seatbelt law is a primary offense, meaning drivers and passengers in all seating positions – including the back seats – must be buckled up or in the correct child restraint:
-        All children must be in a child restraint until they are 4’9” tall, or at least age 8
-        Newborns to at least 1 year old and 20 pounds must be in a rear facing child seat
-        Age 2 until around age 4 should be in a forward facing child seat
-        After outgrowing forward facing harness restraints, booster seats should be used
Law enforcement will be out in force this summer looking for seat belt violators.  Drivers will be ticketed for unbelted passengers ages 14 and under.  Unbelted passengers age 15 and older will be ticketed directly.  We’ve heard all the excuses……
I buckle up most of the time, but not if I am just going a few blocks to the store.
FACT: The majority of motor vehicle crashes occur within 25 miles of home in areas where the speed limit is 40mph or less.  A crash at only 12 mph can be fatal.

We’ll never have a crash – I’m a good driver.
FACT: Good drivers can be hit by bad drivers, distracted drivers, intoxicated drivers, aggressive or inattentive drivers.  Wildlife or other sudden hazards may be impossible to avoid.

My baby was crying, so I was holding her.  I could protect her in a crash.
FACT: In a 30 mph crash, a 10 pound baby can suddenly be ripped from a belted adult’s arms with a force of over 300 pounds and launched into the dashboard or windshield.  No matter how strong you are, you cannot hold onto a baby in a crash.

I knew someone who died in a car crash because they were wearing their seatbelt.
FACT:  If someone wearing their seatbelt dies in a crash, it certainly wasn’t because they were buckled up.  The crash was most likely so severe and devastating that only not being in that car at that moment would have prevented a fatality.

This summer will be a busy one for family and friends – outings with friends, family vacations, working hard and playing hard.  Sit down and talk with your family and kids about the importance of seatbelt use and be sure to lead by example and always wear your seatbelt.

Logan’s message: Protect yourself and your family by buckling up – every seat, every time. 

 Pass it on!

Your Sheriff,


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May 2016

Law Enforcement has certainly seen some drastic changes in the past decade or two, even more so in the last few years.   Our honorable profession, in many areas of the country, has gone from respected to resented, from thanked to threatened.  While this fortunately isn’t an accurate reflection of our county – it is a potential reality our officers and deputies risk every day with every call.
In the mid 80’s law enforcement agencies like Rochester were getting nearly 400 applicants when they posted for open positions, in the 90’s there were usually over 200 applicants.  Today, they may get only 50 applicants for just a handful of openings.
We’re now seeing officers and families make the decision to change careers due to the current climate and national sentiment by some towards law enforcement – many of these resignations fueled by incidents like Ferguson and others that followed.  For example, Colorado Springs Police Department had over 50 resignations last year.  Many of those officers, and their families, cited the job had just become too risky.
Nearly 1,500 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 10 years – an average of one death every 60 hours, with 117 killed in the line of duty last year.   Nearly 60,000 assaults against law enforcement are reported annually, resulting in around 15,000 injuries. 
Law Enforcement must be willing to work nights, weekends, and holidays.  Must be willing to miss special family dates – birthdays, anniversaries, school events, etc.  They must be willing to always run towards the threat often risking their lives for people they often don’t even know. They have to be willing to be on heightened alert daily due to the violence against law enforcement nationwide – they need to be on guard and watch their backs both at work and off-duty with their families.  Officers need to accept that their families will deal with a tremendous amount of stress with all the negative publicity towards law enforcement.  Their kids may likely get teased or worse at school and must know to watch their backs too. Officers must be available at a moment’s notice for emergencies. They must be willing to work under the public microscope every day and know that the actions they take in a split second will be arm-chair quarterbacked by many – lawyers, media, and community.  They must understand that they will be held to a higher standard than others both on and off duty.  Finally, officers need to know the job will not likely pay enough for them to avoid needing a part-time job to raise a family and make ends meet.  
So the question is – Why do people still sign up for this?  
While law enforcement in our area and around the state and country will share various reasons for becoming an officer, the common answer is that they genuinely care about people, and want to help people in need.  These are the men and women that are successful and survive in this profession.  Most have a strong sense of community, and right and wrong.   Most also have a strong sense of community.  They are truly amazing people! 
We encourage our deputies to live here in Dodge County and to take ownership in our community.  They are very active in our community and are always open to questions or concerns from the public, whether at home, at the store, or at a local restaurant.   This community policing philosophy helps us earn the trust and respect of the public that we serve.  The better our communication is with the public, the better we can work together to solve problems in our neighborhoods.
While it may sound cliché, I went into law enforcement because I truly wanted to help people.  I wanted to give back and make a difference in the community I grew up in – which was Kasson.  I wanted to try and help make Dodge County a safe place for my kids to grow up in, a safe place for my family and friends to raise their kids.  I’ve always believed in the importance of taking an active ownership role in my community.  These actions are important not only as a law enforcement officer, but as a parent in my opinion.  These actions along with the strong sense of “community” that officers teach and share with their families often results in their kids following in their footsteps – as I did with my father, and as my oldest son did with me.  We’re working hard to employee law enforcement professionals here at the Sheriff’s Office who all share this same belief and philosophy. 
This career is certainly not for everyone.  We’ve seen several come and go who realized that it wasn’t for them.  Those of us that have been here for a while have seen dramatic changes, especially the increased risks to deputy safety and the stress it puts on family. In spite of this, we still come to work every day because we want to help people - because we genuinely care about the public that has entrusted us to put the badge on and do this job.  
The next time you see your local officer or deputy out working day and night, in good weather and in bad, on the weekends, and on holidays – please remember the sacrifices they and their families make for your safety everyday they put on that badge and uniform.   These are truly amazing people.  
Your Sheriff,
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May 2016

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week.  When President Kennedy signed this proclamation, we had 155 men and women who had died in the Line of Duty here in Minnesota.
Fast forward to today, we’ve had 275 Minnesota Line of Duty deaths with the loss of Steven Sandberg from Aitkin County back in October.
On May 15th tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world will converge on Washington DC to participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have made the ultimate sacrifice. 
Here in Minnesota we’ll start locally with the 2016 Law Enforcement Memorial Program on Friday the 13th at Soldiers Field Memorial in Rochester.  This will give us an opportunity to remember the officers and families that have given the ultimate sacrifice here in SE Minnesota – including Captain Loring Guenther who was our state’s 273rd Line of Duty death, the third one in our county, and the first one for our Sheriff’s Office.  This is a very impressive program and is open to the public.
Saturday May 14th the annual Standing of the Memorial Guard at the Peace Officers Memorial on the Minnesota State Capitol grounds will commence at 7pm.  Officers from all over Minnesota will travel to St. Paul where they will stand in silent vigil for 20 minutes shifts. This is done to keep alive the memories of the 275 fallen law enforcement officer in Minnesota who have lost their lives while protecting their communities. This vigil will continue throughout the night and until the following day when the officers will complete the standing of the guard at 7pm.
Sunday May 15th we will then honor all law enforcement officers who have given their lives in the line of duty in Minnesota and nationwide.  Following the Standing of the Memorial Guard, the Law Enforcement Memorial Association will host a Candlelight Service there at the memorial.
The general public is invited to attend this moving celebration where tribute will be paid to all 275 fallen officers through a combination of police bagpipe music, vocal solos and full music compositions. The ceremony will be begin at 7:25pm on Sunday with a parade of law enforcement honor guards who will march to the Capital grounds from Wabasha and Exchange.  This is a very impressive parade.   The event concludes with a ceremonial firing party, taps and final musical selections which will include the Minnesota Police Band playing Amazing Grace.
If you have the opportunity to attend one of these programs, I would encourage you to do so and help us honor those who’ve fallen.  If you can’t, I ask that you to please remember these great men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to help keep our county, our state, and our country safe.  It’s also just as important to remember the families of the fallen, on this day and always, to show them your support and appreciation.  While every day can certainly be a challenge for the family and friends of the fallen, this can be an especially tough week.
Your Sheriff,

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April 2016

Today, with all the recent attention towards law enforcement nationwide, the Thin Blue Line symbol is often seen displayed in many places – especially on social media.  I often wonder how many people outside the law enforcement circle really know the various meanings behind the Thin Blue Line.
The Thin Blue Line is said to have actually originated in the United Kingdom before becoming prevalent in the United States and many other countries.  The use of the color blue is because of it being the traditional color for law enforcement, more specifically for police departments.   The concept of the Thin Blue Line was introduced to pop culture here in the United States in 1988 in a documentary with the same name. The Thin Blue Line told the story of a man convicted of murder and sentenced to life for a crime he did not commit. In the film, the prosecutor referenced a “thin blue line” during his closing argument, saying that the "Thin Blue Line" (referencing the police) separated society from anarchy.

Today, the common interpretation is the Thin Blue Line represents the thin line law enforcement walks daily between life and death – law enforcement being the thin blue line that separates the good from bad, the barrier between anarchy and a civilized society.  Some suggest the black represents the unknowns we face every day we put on the badge.  Others suggest that the two sections of black symbolize each side represented – the Thin Blue Line separating the good from the bad, the public from the criminal, decency from lawlessness.  It symbolizes law enforcement’s responsibility to protect the citizens through the power of our laws.

This symbol is also used in law enforcement memorials – the black representing those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice and the blue line representing those who continue serving our communities today.  At its core, the Thin Blue Line is a symbol of solidarity for police officers, their families, and their supporters.
The Thin Blue Line represents your local Sheriff’s Deputies and Police Officers who work day and night to keep your neighborhoods and your family safe.  These men and women are courageous and compassionate, fearless and fair, brave and benevolent.  They are ready to serve, prepared to save, and willing to protect – even if it means giving their life for yours.

Whatever the true intended meaning if the Thin Blue Line, the important thing to remember is its significance to those who find solidarity in it.   It’s an important cultural symbol, a calling card for law enforcement, a rally cry identifying this special group, their bond, their loyalty, and their dedication to their brothers and sisters serving in your communities.   

Your Sheriff,


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March 2016

In Minnesota, if you are around anyone that works for a Sheriff’s Office, they will likely correct you if you refer to them as a Sheriff’s Department.  They’ll tell you it’s a Sheriff’s Office – not department. 

When I worked as a civilian for the Rochester Police Department in their Crime Prevention Unit, I had the opportunity to see then Olmsted County Sheriff Steve Borchardt (retired) correct many people on this, in his own thoughtful and eloquent way.

A department is run by an appointed official (i.e. Police Chief) – an office by an elected official.   An appointed official is selected by an interview/selection process conducted by other appointed officials.  Appointed officials usually answer to another appointed official, who answers to more layers of administration that separate that appointed official from the public they serve. This system of layers often encourages the appointed official to value their relationship with their superior over their relationship with their staff and citizens they serve (i.e. self-preservation).  Certainly there are intelligent and responsible appointed officials that would argue this point including the police chief’s in our county who do a great job – it is not an all-inclusive point of view.  This is however why we hear about police chiefs that acquiesce to “sanctuary cities” – because the elected officials to whom they report require that of them to keep their jobs.  This is why we hear about police chiefs bending to political or activist group demands – because the people they answer to are often blinded by political correctness and all too often make emotional decisions about law enforcement issues they have no understanding of. 

An elected officer like a Sheriff, is not insulated from the citizens by multiple layers of government – they don’t answer to a county board or county supervisors. They have a direct relationship and are personally responsible to each and every citizen in his/her county.  This direct relationship with the citizens is by virtue of the vote.  The months long electoral process is a much more rigorous selection process than any interview or application process and creates in the candidate a very definite belief that they are personally connected to and responsible to the citizens that selected them.

This is why you see Sheriffs speaking out on behalf of their citizens on matters of gun rights, sanctuary cities, and other issues. The elected Sheriff who has survived the electoral process is acutely aware of who they answer to, and it’s the citizens of the county - not some other official or board.   This relationship becomes very personal.  That is why you see sheriffs at community meetings, council meetings, township meetings, community festivals, parades, etc. - not simply to be seen and meet and greet but because when the Sheriff is out amongst them, he/she is personally accessible to their citizens - accessible/available/responsible. That is why you’ll see Sheriffs go to fatality scenes, meet with families, and even attend funerals....because it is personal.

Retired Sheriff Don Gudmundson (who served in Fillmore, Dakota, and Steele County) is another retired Sheriff I have great respect for. He would remind citizens when discussing his office, that it’s “the peoples’ office”.  He would explain that the people had simply trusted the office to his temporary keeping as Sheriff. 

Being elected to the office of Sheriff implies a level of personal trust that exceeds that of the appointed official. The elected officer is not an "employee" filling a job; rather, they are an officer serving a public office. This is by no means meant to minimize the importance of appointed chiefs, just to explain the difference between the two – the Sheriff’s Office is all about personal trust that is borne of the electoral process.

"A public office is a public trust."  This means that Sheriffs, as public officers, must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, and act with patriotism and justice. 

So the next time you hear someone say Sheriff’s Department, you can now share with them why it’s not a department, it’s an office – it’s the peoples’ Sheriff’s Office.  

Your Sheriff,


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February 2016

Over the years there have been numerous incidents of courthouse violence throughout the country. We know that it can happen anywhere, in any court or government facility, often with tragic consequences.  Here in Minnesota a fatal shooting in the Hennepin County Courthouse in 2003 prompted tighter security in the downtown Minneapolis Government Center.  In December of 2011, a defendant critically wounded three people in the Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais, which did not have a metal detector or deputy working security.  In January of 2015 in New Hope, a gunman opened fire on two officers after a swearing in ceremony at the city hall. In this case the two officers who were injured exchanged gunfire with the suspect killing him before anyone else was hurt.  In addition to the numerous law enforcement officer shootings throughout the country in the past year, one of the most recent public employee shootings gaining national attention was a social worker in Vermont who was shot and killed at work by a client upset about losing custody of her 9 year old child.    

In response to the ever growing concerns of safety within the Public Safety area of our courthouse, we have been working to develop a new Weapons Screening Program and Courthouse Security Program here in Dodge County – programs that we have started this month. 
The newly remodeled Public Safety area of the courthouse includes the Sheriff’s Office, Probation, County Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Drug Court, Victim Services and the Courts.  The only public entrance to the courthouse is now the double doors by the flag pole on the northeast side of the building. You can also enter thru the south lower level doors to Human Services.  When you are here for court or to visit anyone in the Public Safety area, you will now be required to go thru weapons screening.  The deputy at the screening area will require you to walk thru a metal detector and will check any coats or bags for weapons.  Firearms are prohibited by a judge’s order anywhere within the entire Courthouse Government Services Complex.
In addition to screening, you will also see a more prevalent law enforcement presence in and around the complex, along with armed deputies in every court hearing.  Unfortunately, this is the world we live in today.
 Our goal is to provide the highest level of safety and security possible to the judge and her staff, our county employees, and to the public.  While it will most certainly be a learning curve for visitors and staff here at the courthouse, these needed changes will help make the courthouse a safer place for all.
Thanks in advance for your patience during this time. 
Your Sheriff, 

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January 2016

During one of our recent cold spells, Rosie and I were on our way home from shopping in Rochester when we saw a minivan in the eastbound lane a few miles west of town stopped on the shoulder, hood up, and no lights on.  I looked down at my dash and it indicated the temperature was below zero and it was windy, so we knew the wind-chill was dangerously low.  I then saw someone standing on the roadway by the van who I assumed was the owner, with nobody else around. My first thought was we have to turn around and check on the guy, it’s too cold to be standing out there for too long.   We continued west towards Byron and turned around at the first intersection and drove east until we saw the van.   We pulled up behind it and saw a young man standing outside the vehicle. I walked up to him and he explained that he was on his way to work when his vehicle quit working, he wasn’t able to reach any of his friends by phone because his wasn’t working, and he had been trying to flag down help from someone.  He said he couldn’t get anyone to stop.  I told him we could give him a ride to where ever he needed to go to get help.   Rosie and I gave him a ride into Rochester to his house so he could get help to retrieve his vehicle.  He also used our phone to call his employer to let him know he would be late.  He had been without heat for over 15 minutes outside and was very cold.  He was very polite and appreciative.The reason I bring this story up is because it was very disappointing to find that I was the first one to stop.  To my knowledge, nobody driving by called law enforcement to get help for him either.    My question for you is – would you stop?   Let’s ad more to the story – would it matter if it was a young male standing outside trying to flag you down?  I’m sure many of you would stop.  How about it if was a female, or a senior citizen?  I’m sure many more might be willing to stop.  How about if it was a minority?   African American, Hispanic, Asian, etc.?   How about Middle Eastern? Unfortunately, the national media has done a tremendous job of vilifying minorities, especially as of late.   Middle Easterners with all the conflicts with ISIS.  Hispanics with the boarder issues, illegal status debates, and some of the recent crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.  African Americans with all the hype regarding Black Lives Matter, anti-law enforcement rhetoric, and black on black crime – they’ve been all over the national media this past year.  Does that influence how we act?   We’d like to say no, but that’s not always the case.This young man that we stopped to help was African American.  I really hope that’s not why no one chose to stop and help before we did.  He was simply a kid with car problems who was cold and looking for help.  We stopped because it was the right thing to do – because it’s what we would have wanted him to do for us.  He was polite and appreciative – a very nice kid!   If you see an occupied vehicle broke down on the side of the road and they look like they need assistance, especially during the cold winter months, stop if you feel safe to do so.  If you have any concerns for your safety, don’t stop.  Your safety and your family’s safety comes first - but note the location and description of the vehicle and call law enforcement to make sure help is on the way.As we enter into the New Year, especially with a national election year, we are going to get even more inundated with negative national media.  Negative and divisive media coverage regarding religious and political groups, regarding minority groups, and regarding cops.  While it’s often easier said than done, we must try and not judge someone based on their skin color, religion, profession, or political preference – judgment so often motivated and fueled by the nation media covering the wrongful actions of a few.  We are so fortunate to live and work here in southeast Minnesota, in an area where we’re are often insulated from many of the issues plaguing neighborhoods around the country.  While it’s important to keep you and your family safe, I challenge everyone to make an honest effort to not let the divisive rhetoric affect how we treat people, especially our neighbors here in Dodge County and southeast Minnesota.      Happy New year everyone. 

Your Sheriff, 

December 2015

As we near the end of another year, we want to remind everyone - “If you see something, say something!”  As you are out with friends and family shopping, traveling, and celebrating Christmas and the New Year, please make sure to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.  Terrorism, both domestic and international, is on everyone’s mind with all the events of this past year.  While Homeland Security has no information on specific threats here in Minnesota, we know that incidents like the most recent terrorist shooting in San Bernardino California can happen without warning. Whether you are visiting family and friends across the country, or right here in SE Minnesota, there are some simple things that you can do to help keep your loved ones safe: WATCH FOR SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY
  • Unusual items or situations: A vehicle is parked in an odd location, a package/luggage is unattended, a window/door is open that is usually closed, or other out-of-the-ordinary situations occur.
  • Eliciting  information: A person questions individuals at a level beyond curiosity about a building’s purpose, operations, security procedures and/or personnel, shift changes, etc.      
  • Observation/surveillance: Someone pays unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation (particularly in concealed locations); unusual, repeated, and/or prolonged observation of a building (e.g., with binoculars or video camera); taking notes or measurements; counting paces; sketching floor     plans, etc.  Also someone paying unusual attention to persons or children that aren’t with them or their party.
Some of these activities could be innocent—but by reporting this activity you allow law enforcement to determine whether the behavior warrants investigation.  If you see suspicious activity, report it to local law enforcement or a person of authority.Describe specifically what you observed, including:
  • Who or what you saw;
  • When you saw it;
  • Where it occurred; and
  • Why it's suspicious.
When away from home be sure to lock everything up – vehicles, buildings, home, windows, etc.  Leave some lights on in your home, or on a timer, to keep potential intruders wondering if someone is home or not.  If you have an extra vehicle that can be left out in your driveway, this can also discourage potential intruders from trying. If you are going to be away from home for an extended time, call your local law enforcement and request “Residential Checks” while you are gone.  This gives our deputies an opportunity to check your property while you are away. We will ask for your contact information, key holder information, what vehicles will be there, and what lights will be on in your home.  With this information we can help keep an eye on your property and contact you if there are any problems or concerns.While officials are suggesting heightened security and awareness nationwide during the holidays, it’s not intended to induce fear or panic – we all need to go about our normal business and activities.  The goal is for everyone to be informed and stay alert!  The more we aware we are of our surroundings and potential “red flags”, the more we can all play a critical role in keeping our neighborhoods and our country safe.From our staff here at the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office, we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and safe and Happy New Year!

Your Sheriff,


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November 2015

I had a citizen make the suggestion recently that law enforcement officers here in Dodge County don’t deal with the same kind of threats that some of the bigger agencies deal with – implying that our officers are overpaid for the work they do.  The reality is the threats we deal with in a smaller community like Dodge County are very much the same as the bigger agencies.  We deal with the same problems and challenges - sometimes on a smaller scale and less frequent, often times with greater risk to our officers. I pulled calls from this past weekend and found that Dodge County (not including Kasson PD and West Concord PD) had over 100 calls for service.  Some of the higher priority officer safety calls were as follows:SUICIDAL SUBJECT WITH WEAPON
NARCOTICS COMPLAINTSAll too often in smaller communities like ours the challenges and risks our deputies and officers take during their regular shifts go unreported, which sometimes results in a somewhat skewed sense of security.  This is certainly not a reflection on our local media, it’s merely a reflection of law enforcement’s distrust of media in general.  Many in law enforcement often feel it’s a lose/lose proposition dealing with the media in some areas of the state and country. If there’s a lot of crime being reported – people feel the cops aren’t doing their jobs.  If there is no crime being reported – people feel the cops aren’t doing their jobs.  Fortunately, we live in a great community here in Dodge County that generally is very supportive of law enforcement – support we also see from our local newspapers and TV stations.Several communities that had Line of Duty deaths in the US this year are smaller communities like ours, including the Aitkin County murder of Investigator Steve Sandberg.   This doesn’t even touch the issue of assaults on officers nationwide - over 48,000 officers assaulted in 2014. The biggest difference we see with smaller rural community law enforcement is they don’t have back up officers available within seconds or a few minutes like in the bigger cities.  Our backup could be 15 minutes or more away – sometimes much longer with smaller rural agencies.  In a force encounter where someone struggles with an officer, that officer can hit his/her personal fatigue threshold as soon as 30-60 seconds after the start of a struggle depending on the circumstances.  If an officer knows he/she is nearing their fatigue threshold, they must act quickly to control the subject(s).  In this case it’s often necessary for the officer to escalate to a greater level of force than may otherwise appear objectively reasonable.  This is where we often see excessive use of force allegations – allegations that are often unfounded once all the facts are reviewed.  Cell phone videos and short news stories rarely ever tell the “rest of the story” when it comes to the realities of a violent law enforcement confrontation.  Our deputies and officers deal with all the stresses, problems and concerns felt in the bigger agencies.  They’re on heightened alert daily due to the violence against law enforcement nationwide – they are on guard at work and they are on guard off-duty with their families.  Their families also deal with a tremendous amount of stress with all the negative publicity towards law enforcement.  They watch their loved ones walk out the door and pray each day and night that they come home safe at the end of their shift. The men and women that serve as deputies and officers here in Dodge County and greater Southeast Minnesota do take on the same risk as any metro officers every day they come to work.  The next time you see your local officer out working day and night, in good weather and in bad, on the weekends, and on holidays – remember the sacrifices they and their families make for your safety everyday they put on that badge and uniform.  If anything, they are very underpaid for what they do.

Your Sheriff,


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October 2015 

This morning in Goodhue County and in Dodge County we had reports of a black minivan driving slowly on various rural county roads.  One rural resident reported a male in a van matching this description knocking on their door.  When the home owner answered, the suspect asked her if she wanted to complete a survey.  She declined and he quickly left the area.  These are the types of calls we are seeing now with daytime burglaries throughout the region. Daytime burglaries have become much more common in our area than ever before.  Especially now that school is back in session.  The typical daytime burglar is a narcotics user, looking for some fast cash to support his/her addiction.  They will ring your doorbell or knock on the door, often times in the mid or late morning hours when they anticipate you are at work.   If someone answers, they will come up with some bogus story - looking for directions, selling something, doing a survey, etc.   If nobody answers, they try to find the easiest way to get in the house and typically go directly to the master bedroom.  They are going to look for cash and jewelry.  If they continue they will likely grab any high dollar electronics in the house and power tools from the garage.  Please document and photograph your valuables – without documentation and proof the property is yours, it becomes very difficult to recover stolen property.Here are a few tips to make your home a tougher target for these criminals:

Over 50% of the time burglars will go thru the front door or main floor window.  A nice breeze inside is nice when you are home, but be sure to lock your doors and windows when you leave.  Keep bushes and trees trimmed around windows to make it harder for burglars to sneak in.


We see citizens locking their garage or outbuilding in the county yet they often leave their vehicles unlocked with keys in them.  Be sure to lock vehicles, remove keys, and secure buildings.  An unlocked building or vehicle is simply an invitation for trouble.

One easy deterrent can simply be leaving a vehicle locked and visible outside.  Seeing that vehicle outside could be enough for the burglar to decide not to check your residence. 


Lighting can be a big deterrent for burglars casing your property in the dark.  They will often avoid properties with motion lighting and bright yard lights.   There are also many home security options available today, with prices that have become more and more affordable.

Dogs, large and small, can also be an effective deterrent to burglars.  Many interviewed burglars have indicated that the biggest reason for their choosing not to enter a home was the dog they observed or heard inside.  The prospect of being bitten can often send a potential thief to the next target.


Get to know your neighbors and watch out for each other.  We’ve caught burglars in the act because of watchful neighbors.   If you are going out of town for a period of time, let your neighbors know and call your local law enforcement and ask that they do residential checks on your property.  This gives law enforcement the opportunity to check your property while you’re gone, and the information to know who to contact if there is a problem.We encourage everyone to call in suspicious activity in your neighborhood; slow moving vehicles that you don’t recognize, people showing up at your door with strange questions or behavior, etc.  I’ve said this time and time again – Don’t hesitate to call when you see something that you question!  We would rather respond to numerous false alarms versus not being called that one time where someone gets victimized or worse.   If you have questions about how to keep your property safe, call us and we would be happy to have a deputy come out and speak to you.By working together and keeping a watchful eye on your neighborhood, we can help reduce crime.

Your Sheriff,


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September 2015
As we progress through Dodge County’s remodel and building projects for the year, things are starting to look at little different here at the Sheriff’s Office.If you haven’t been to the courthouse in Mantorville for a while, you’ll find that County Administration, Driver’s License, Tax, Planning and Zoning are now all at the new Government Services Building (old Mantorville School).  For those of you like myself who attended that school, it’s pretty amazing to walk in there now and see the new building. We will be moving our Records Department and our Dispatch Center into their new areas in the courthouse annex the first part of October.  This will be the first time we’ve expanded these offices in almost 25 years.   When this move takes place, our public window will be the Records Department window, not at Dispatch.  This means all inquiries at the Sheriff’s Office including burn permits and general information will be available at the Records window between 8-4:30pm Mon-Fri.   Dispatch will now be in a secured area with no access to the public for security purposes.Once that move is complete they will start remodeling in the Sheriff’s Office East wing.  This includes expanding evidence storage and intake, adding a third investigator office, adding a training/conference room, and adding a secured sally port for in custody transports and processing.Finally, we’ll be working on completing the new security screening area in the annex and staffing it once the courthouse remodel is completed, which will provide security screening for all staff and visitors of the Sheriff’s Office, County Attorney’s Office, Probation, and Court Administration.  We are very fortunate to have a board of commissioners who recognize that our building safety and security needs have dramatically changed over the years – and that it’s time to implement a carefully developed plan to ensure the safety of our county employees and all visitors to our facility. In 1991 we moved into our current Sheriff’s Office space with just over 20 full and part time employees.   We now have over 50 employees working in the same area, so we are really looking forward to the extra room for growth. The staff here at the Sheriff’s Office has worked hard this year to be as transparent as possible with everything we do.   With that in mind, we are planning on having an open house in the spring of 2016 so we can show the citizens of Dodge County our facilities and our improvements, and share some of our accomplishments from this past year.Developing and improving new building security and safety programs here has been a focus for our staff this year.  We recognize the immense responsibility we have to ensure the safety of all of our county employees and visitors to the court house – and take that responsibility very seriously. Thanks to everyone in advance for being patient during this phase of our remodeling project.

Your Sheriff,


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August 2015

Your teenage daughter is a good kid.  She gets good grades in school.  She’s active in school activities and plays on the softball team.  Everything seems to be good, but then you start seeing a change:  She now has a new group of friends you don’t know much about.  She seems to be less and less interested in doing those things she enjoyed – such as socializing, school activities, and engaging with family and friends.  She seems to have problems concentrating and staying awake.   She seems less concerned about her appearance and hygiene.   These could be signs of narcotics use – like opioids or heroin. We’ve had a handful of heroin overdoses here in the county – two of them actually resulted in the victims being dumped out of their “so called” friend’s vehicles on the side of the road.  One survived it, the other did not.  Heroin use in our communities continues to increase and it does not discriminate – from school age kids to retired adults, we’ve seen the terrible effects this drug have on people. Heroin is a highly addictive drug processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy plants.  It’s typically sold as a white or brownish powder.  The number of heroin cases have been steadily rising here in Dodge County over the last few years.  Other opioid medications like OxyContin, Vicodin, Fentanyl, and Demerol can have a similar effect to Heroin when not used as prescribed.  We’ve also seen these pills being sold in the schools by kids whose stole them from their parents who have prescriptions.  Some experts believe that the heroin increase may be due in part to a shift from abuse of prescription pain relievers to heroin as a readily available and cheaper alternative.  The symptoms of heroin withdrawal can start within a few hours.  These conditions may include insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, and leg movements.  Some describe the withdrawal as being “dope sick” and liken it to the worst flu you’ve ever had times 10.  These symptoms often peak at around three days and can last a week or more.Overdose is a dangerous and deadly consequence of heroin use because large doses of heroin depress the heart rate and breathing to such an extent that a user cannot survive without medical help.If you have a friend or family member that you believe is struggling with prescription drug abuse or the use of heroin (or any other illegal drug) -- do something about it!  Confront them about your concerns, talk to law enforcement, find out what help is available from the county, research the area’s local treatment centers.  The actions you take may save that person’s life.Whether you suspect someone in your family with a drug problem or not, be sure to secure your meds and make sure they aren’t accessible to your kids and your kid’s friends.  If you have old medications that you aren’t using, bring them to our drop box at the Sheriff’s Office so we can dispose of them.  Also, know who your kids are hanging out with – ask questions.  Be involved!I started working here in law enforcement back in the late 90s when we started seeing meth labs popping up all over SE Minnesota.   This was a type of drug that this area really hadn’t dealt with before on such a large scale – especially with the amount of labs that popped up around the area.   While meth continues to be our biggest problem in Dodge County, heroin has quickly become our latest challenge.   Heroin is a very difficult drug to detox from, but it’s not impossible – you can do it with a good treatment program, a good support group, and family and friends!   We’ve stepped up narcotics enforcement with both patrol and investigations here in Dodge in response to the increase we’ve seen in meth and heroin use.   Please talk to your local deputy or one of our investigators if you have any information about narcotics activity in your community, or with any questions or concerns.   Remember, as always, you can remain anonymous.

Your Sheriff,


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July 2015

Recent events throughout the country have shed a very dark light on our profession – events sensationalized by national media when in reality, they are highlighting the bad decisions made by a fraction of a percentage of over 900,000 dedicated law enforcement officers nationwide. Over 900,000 dedicated law enforcement officers that have taken on responsibilities and risks in their respective communities that most would never consider. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, an estimated 1.16 million violent crimes occurred nationwide in 2013.  Since the first recorded police death in 1791, there have been over 20,000 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.  There are just over 20,500 names engraved on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.Nearly 1,500 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 10 years – an average of one death every 60 hours – 117 killed in the line of duty last year.On average, over the last decade, there have been 58,930 assaults against law enforcement each year, resulting in over 15,000 injuries.The men and women serving the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office patrol day and night to help keep our families safe.   They work nights, weekends, and holidays.  They often miss important family gatherings, school functions, and other events that many of us take for granted.  Our deputies’ spouses and kids also make great sacrifices for the safety of our community.  These deputies see the best and worst our society has to offer.  They respond to some of the most heartbreaking scenes, scenes that are life altering for those involved.  These men and women are the first ones thru the door, risking their lives to help protect and/or save someone they’ve likely never met, while everyone else runs the other way.   They say goodbye to their spouses and kids every day knowing that on any given day, during any given incident, they might not come home. What kind of person takes on a job like this?  It takes very special person, and a very special spouse, to take on these responsibilities and find a balance between this job and family.  We are very fortunate here in Dodge County to have an amazing group of men and women in uniform, dedicated to help make Dodge County a great place to live and raise a family.  Men and women who take real ownership in our community, many moving here to raise their families - Families who have supported them knowing this job does not come without great challenge, sacrifice, compromise, and commitment.  Men and women who come to work risking their lives every day to help keep our communities safe, often taking these risks to help people they don’t even know. 

Next time you see one of them, or one of their spouses, think about the sacrifices they and their families make for you every day and thank them for their service

Your Sheriff,


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