Two running for Mower County Sheriff’s seat

Published 6:24 pm Friday, July 1, 2022

Two names will be vying for the position of Mower County Sheriff this fall.

Current Sheriff Steve Sandvik, in his first term, will face off against challenger and Albert Lea Police officer David Huse.

Sheriff Steve Sandvik

David Huse

A 22-year veteran of the Mower County Sheriff’s Office, Sandvik won election in 2018, and took over the position after then Sheriff Terese Amazi.

“It’s been awesome,” Sandvik said. “We’ve had some very unprecedented challenges with weather disasters and the pandemic. It’s been exciting. I think we’ve made some exciting changes fiscally and response wise.”

Sandvik said one of the biggest accomplishments during his term has been to increase staffing levels within the office, allowing staff to better respond to the public in a variety of ways.

This restructuring has allowed the Sheriff’s Office to raise the number of minimum staff at all times throughout the day. It also opened the door to have direct supervisors throughout the day on all shifts to help maintain guidance.

There’s also been an improvement fiscally within the sheriff’s office.

“One of my focuses coming into the Sheriff’s Office has been the efficiency of financial operations through the course of these three years,” Sandvik said. “We’ve revamped many of our contracts.”

In particular, Sandvik said that one of those contracts has been with jail meal contractors, where they’ve been able to save over $100,000 a year. The office has also been able to turn to grant dollars to help fund infrastructure needs, “At no additional cost to local taxpayers,” Sandvik said, adding that “There’s also a focus going forward to continue seeking out those options and find more efficient ways to do our jobs on a day-to-day basis.”

With all of this taking place in the prior three years of his term, Sandvik said that the reason to run again can be attributed to how well his first term has been.

“There’s still more things to do,” Sandvik said. “Going forward, I want to continue to ensure that we have people getting the necessary training and make sure people have the opportunities to learn and grow in their career to better serve.”

To that end, Sandvik is looking to continue improving community engagement as well as continue to expand on the ability to build on that momentum within the community.

“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to serve all of the years I’ve served,” Sandvik said. “To be elected is absolutely an honor and I’m really excited to be stepping up to continue moving forward in the community.”

Sandvik’s challenger, Huse, is an eight-year veteran of law enforcement having served in a variety of departments in southern Minnesota since graduating from Rochester Community and Technical College with a degree in Law Enforcement in 2014.

Huse was part time with the Preston Police Department, Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office and Rushford Police Department before moving to full time in Rushford.

Eventually he took a job with the Windom Police Department where he took over the duties of Field Training Officer, a position he currently holds with the Albert Lea Police Department.

This includes riding with new officers and evaluating them throughout a probationary period, while letting the officers handle more and more of each call over a span of time.

“You get to work with people,” Huse said. “No two people are the same. It’s kind of fun understanding how each person works.”

“I grew up in the area,” Huse said. “Now that I kind of came back to the area, I’m living in Mower County. Working different agencies, seeing how supervisors do things, both pros and cons, I think I would have a lot to provide to the community and citizens.”

Huse said that if elected, he would like to increase community engagement between deputies and citizens, making sure that all facets of the county are served.

“Stop in neighborhoods and say ‘hi’ and shooting the breeze,” Huse said.

Huse said that interaction is based on respect when dealing with both sides of an issue.

“Just getting out of  your car and talking to people and asking how they are doing,” he said. “It makes things a lot easier when you have to interact with people.”

Coming up on 30 years old and not yet 10 years into the profession, Huse is nevertheless confident going forward.

“Age never stopped Alexander Great from conquering the world,” Huse said.