Herald Journal - Voters' Guide 2010
Herald Journal / Dassel-Cokato Enterprise Dispatch / Delano Herald Journal

McLeod County Sheriff

Two people have filed for the position of McLeod County Sheriff, Wes Olson and Scott Rehmann.

Wes Olson

Why are you running for office?

The office of the sheriff of McLeod County is an elected position, and every four years the taxpayers have the opportunity to examine the job performance of their elected official.

Throughout the past four years, there have been some concerns of mine that have led me to feel very strongly about stepping up to offer my experience in law enforcement for McLeod County.

Over the past few months, during my door-to-door campaign, many residents are telling me they, also, are not satisfied with what is currently happening within their law enforcement core.

What do you think are two major issues at this time, and what do you propose to do about them?

Many areas of protection and service for the people are always at the forefront of importance in safeguarding citizens.

Narrowing down my concerns to two major issues at this time would have to be: What service of law enforcement are the citizens getting for their tax dollars? And, why are so many people telling me that they are not satisfied?

My experience in law enforcement tells me there is inadequate leadership, lack of visibility, and not enough public interaction with the people.

In order for a sheriff to do the job, there has to be a positive, trusting, and sincere connection with all the citizens. To listen to their needs and actually hear what they are saying is vital to knowing how to enforce their protection.

During this campaign time, I have met and started a bond and connection with many citizens and plan to do the same during my term as your sheriff.

My efforts will bring improvement in all areas. Better communication will create a new rapport between the residents and the officers. My goals are for keeping performance and budget under strict control.

Why should you be elected?

My priorities for filling the position of the sheriff are making sure the citizens are getting the service they are expecting, deserve, and are paying for.

At this time, it is essential to reinstate the real purpose for achieving the balance of good law enforcement and eliminate unsatisfied public service. Now is the time to make the difference . . . not after the election and then say, “I wish I would have done something.”

My family and I are also affected by the decisions made by the leadership roles of the sheriff.

We are voting Wes Olson for McLeod County Sheriff Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Scott Rehmann

Why are you running for office?

It is an honor and a privilege to serve you as your sheriff. Four years ago you, the citizens of McLeod County, put your trust and confidence in me. Thank you. Today, I am asking you to support the positive direction I am leading the McLeod County Sheriff’s Office as we work together to keep McLeod County safe.

I was born and raised in McLeod County, and Winsted is my hometown. Katie (Silver Lake) and I, along with our four children, Josiah (14), Isabel (10), Elias (9), and Alison (6), have made Winsted our home. Thus, being your sheriff is very personal to me. My heart and passion is to continue to protect and serve the citizens of this great county.

Above all, I understand that, as your sheriff, I am accountable to you. I have always been honest and open with you and will continue to do so as we, at the sheriff’s office, work hard to serve and protect the citizens of McLeod County.

This is my passion, dedication, and life’s work: to protect the citizens of McLeod County by standing in the gap between you and those that would harm you.

I am a leader that encourages unity among communities and organizations, empowers and advocates for citizens and families, facilitates a common vision in our law enforcement offices, works to keep our schools safe, is responsible with our resources, and serves by example.

McLeod County has excellent law enforcement and I am proud to be a part of it. I understand the importance of leadership development with my deputies, and as a result I brought a leadership development program to McLeod County for my officers. Out of this program my deputies formed the core values of what it means to be a McLeod County deputy.

They are as follows:

• We believe in high standards of professionalism in our work and behavior.

• We will perform our duties with integrity and honor.

• We believe in open and honest communication, both internal and external.

• We will treat all people with respect and compassion.

• We have a personal and professional commitment to improve our communities and earn their trust.

• We believe in an equitable system that treats individuals fairly and justly.

• We will go above and beyond for the office of sheriff and the community.

Having visited with you, the citizens across the county, I have been greatly encouraged by the positive feedback for the job we are doing at the sheriff’s office. Today, I am asking for your continued support as we continue the good work we’ve begun and as we work together to keep McLeod County safe. Thank you.

What do you think are the two major issues at this time, and what do you propose to do about them?

The first and foremost issue that I am facing is the same issue that all entities, private or public, are facing – decreased budgets during hard economic times.

To date, I have managed to make the appointed budgetary cuts. This has been accomplished by keeping a tight rein on overtime costs, saving approximately $100,000 in 2009 (we are on track to repeat these savings in 2010); contracting food services for my jail, saving approximately $50,000 per year; contracting inmate medical services, saving approximately $16,000 per year; reducing my capital outlay costs by extending the life of current equipment, such as squad cars and computers; and not replacing an officer who resigned, saving an additional $50,000. There have been other cuts in many other areas, as well.

Sharing services with other counties and agencies is another area we are exploring as a way to save on individual costs. One way we have successfully integrated resources has been to combine local ERU or SWAT teams from McLeod County, Hutchinson Police Services, and Sibley County. This cooperation multiplies our resources and manpower, and at the same time eliminates the need for each agency to purchase the same pieces of equipment, thus reducing overall equipment costs.

In the past three years, crime in McLeod County has decreased. What can we do to decrease our crime further? Nationally, 40 percent of all crime is conducted under the influence of alcohol. When illegal drugs are added, the percentage rises.

Working with judges, prosecutors, public defenders, probation, public health, and social services, we have been focusing on underage alcohol consumption and the adults who provide it to them.

Our concern with underage drinking is the unintended consequences. These unintended consequences are the potential crimes of sexual assaults, DUIs, traffic crashes, etc.

Our goal is to provide the safest place we can, in order to give our children the greatest opportunity to reach their potential. Teaching DARE, enforcing a county-wide curfew, and Zero Adult Provider (ZAP) are examples of my commitment to our youth and their families.

Concerning illegal drugs, I will continue to investigate and pursue drug dealers. Recently, the McLeod County Sheriff’s Office worked in partnership with federal, state, and local agencies to apprehend several individuals who were involved in distributing illegal drugs.

Prescription medication abuse is the current trend in drug use. As a part of the MEADA coalition of McLeod County, we are setting up a program to collect and dispose of unwanted prescription medications. We will be placing containers at the sheriff’s office and at the Hutchinson Police Department to collect these medications; then we will dispose of them as a means to ensure that they do not end up in the wrong hands.

We will continue to stay on top of current trends in drug use and respond with education and appropriate action to confront and mitigate these issues.

Why should you be elected?

I have worn my sheriff’s badge with honesty and integrity. I understand that what I say and do in public needs to match what I say and do in private. I also understand that the office of the sheriff is not about me; it is about serving you.

Having worked in law enforcement in the cities of Winsted, Lester Prairie, Glencoe, Glencoe-Silver Lake Schools, and the sheriff’s office, I have a very broad understanding of McLeod County law enforcement.

I have served you as your sheriff for the past four years and, therefore, provide the most experience, knowledge, and understanding of all the diverse aspects of the office of sheriff.

My responsibilities include effective budget management, overseeing 108 employees and 25 volunteer employees, a 35-bed jail facility, our 911 communications center, court security, and civil process, providing law enforcement for the city of Stewart, and implementing excellent county-wide law enforcement.

My education includes the following: Minneapolis Community College, associate of arts degree: chemical dependency counseling; Ridgewater College, associate of arts degree: law enforcement; Metropolitan State University, bachelor of arts degree: individualized with a focus on adolescents; and St. Cloud State University, sociology: current.

I have had advanced training in many areas: crisis intervention and the mentally ill, as a trainer in the use of force (from weapons to defensive tactics), as a medic/sniper for the McLeod County Emergency Response Unit, as a School Resource Officer, and as a certified EMT. I have completed the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association New Sheriff’s School; FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development; National Sheriff’s Institute Executive Level Management Education and Training; Civil Process, basic and advanced; and the Minnesota School Safety Conferences, 2008-10.

My vision for service extends beyond the walls of the sheriff’s office. Currently, I am a member of the Glencoe-Silver Lake Community Schools, youth outreach programs, Minnesota Sheriff’s Association, District Four Sheriff’s Association, McLeod County Chief’s of Police Association, Fraternal Order of Police, McLeod County Peace and Police Officer’s Association, McLeod for Tomorrow, the Southwest Metro Drug Task Force, the McLeod County Fair Board, the South Central Radio Board, the Glencoe Rotary Club, Winsted Lake Association, McLeod County Methamphetamine Education and Drug Awareness (MEADA), and the McLeod Alliance for Victims of Domestic Violence Board.

I pledge to continue supporting programs that focus on youth safety and awareness, protecting senior citizens and vulnerable adults from financial exploitation, staying on top of the current trends in substance abuse (prescription medications) and finding ways to mitigate access to them, continued aggressive tracking of registered sex offenders, creating opportunities for citizens to become educated in how the sheriff’s office operates through citizen’s academies, ride-alongs and citizen observation in dispatch, providing continued leadership development for my staff, working to find solutions to your concerns, and protecting and serving you with integrity, honesty, and openness.

Thank you for the opportunity of serving you. I love being your sheriff. We have completed the work we set out to accomplish four years ago. I will continue to serve you with a vision of strong communities, working together to keep McLeod County safe.

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