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Sheriff Candidate's View: St. Louis County can benefit from new generation of law enforcement

ABOUT THIS PRIMARY: St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman is stepping down after 20 years and five terms. Three candidates are running to replace him: Jason Lukovsky, Gordon Ramsay, and Chad Walsh. Two of them will advance from the Aug. 9 primary to Election Day on Nov. 8. Early voting has already begun.

Chad Walsh.jpg
Chad Walsh
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Over the past 20-plus years, I have held various positions in countries throughout the world. I spent years as a military police officer overseas, and it was while serving overseas that I discovered my passion for public service. Upon returning from the military, I became a civilian police officer in South Dakota before realizing how much I missed the northern-Minnesota area where I grew up. I moved back to the Duluth area and started an excavating business before working various construction jobs and ultimately meeting my wife, with whom I now own and run two successful businesses in St. Louis County. It didn’t take me long to realize how much I missed the public-service aspect of law enforcement, so I joined the Moose Lake Police Department.

I’ve lived all over the world and the United States, but I love living in northern Minnesota. Spending time with my family is vital — as is making a contribution to the community, both as a business owner and through public service.

The primary is Aug. 9. Election Day is Nov. 8. Early voting has already begun.

I am a firm believer in upholding the Constitution, and I recognize that it is a contract between the government and the citizens of the United States. This contract is meant to allow the states and their citizens the freedom to choose how things are run. As a peace officer, my duty is maintaining this contract by bridging the gap between citizens and law enforcement to make a cohesive and safe environment for our future generations.

What I want to bring to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office is a new generation of law enforcement and a new perspective on how our county is run. I have a diverse background that gives me a totally different perspective on what the citizens of our county actually want and need.

The primary is Aug. 9. Election Day is Nov. 8. Early voting has already begun.

I have spent the last two years talking to people from all walks of life and to some of the current deputies to find out what is important to them. I have heard their complaints and ideas, and I plan on making sure everyone is heard and problems are solved.

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Since I started my campaign, I have talked about the need for body cameras on our deputies and raises for the employees who work in the sheriff’s department. My perspective was heard, and these ideas have been implemented by the department.

My new perspective also means I will have an open-door policy that allows for complete transparency within the department. Everyone deserves to know where their money is spent and how it is impacting their community. Not only does this apply to the financial aspects of the county but to safety as well.

The sheriff’s office is responsible for educating the public about potential threats and what they can do to avoid or mitigate them before problems escalate to the point of needing to call a deputy. My philosophy is prevention over correction. If we prevent the problem, we will not have to correct it in the future. I believe it takes a village to raise a family, and that village plays a vital role in ensuring the safety of those families using this method.

I also am a staunch supporter of non-lethal-force tactics. The news today is inundated with officer-involved shootings, and I think this is something that can be avoided. My wife and I have been donating pepper-ball launchers to various police departments in our county to ensure the officers have access to less-forceful means of engaging with suspects. We do not need to immediately reach for our firearms if we have other ways of lessening the risk of a fatality when it comes to confronting a potential criminal. Law-enforcement officers are not to be feared but to be respected and looked up to as a liaison between the government and the citizens. Approaching these citizens with the same respect is crucial to our community relations.

I have great plans for our county and look forward to the opportunity to shape it into an even better place than it already is. My new perspective will incorporate the voices I have listened to over the past two years.

Chad Walsh of Fredenberg Township is running for St. Louis County sheriff. He wrote this at the invitation of the News Tribune Opinion page.

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