Election 2022: Carr looks to continue to lead as Wadena County Sheriff
The race for Wadena County Sheriff includes incumbent Mike Carr Jr., Milo Scott and Jason Hofer.
WADENA — Mike Carr Jr. has 17 years of experience as Wadena County Sheriff and he hopes to be re-elected to another term.
His challengers are Milo Scott and Jason Hofer.
Carr answered the following questions from the Wadena Pioneer Journal to help our readers get to know him and other candidates better.
What are the most pressing issues facing Wadena County's public safety?
I feel strongly that mental health is the largest issue right now. We have seen major increases in mental health calls the last 2 years, in part due to in-patient mental health bed availability. We need to keep working with local and state leaders to make this a priority.
The Wadena County Sheriff's Office's goal is to always hire quality employees based on their character. However, the recruitment of quality law enforcement candidates will become increasingly difficult, mainly due to fewer people seeking law enforcement as a career due to the negative spotlight that has been on law enforcement the last couple years. We need to continually recruit quality candidates early on.
As your Sheriff, I want to make sure criminals are held responsible for their actions. Deputies respond to the calls and prepare cases for prosecutors, who work hard to see the case through to a conviction. I feel strongly that the punishment in court must fit the crime for which they are convicted. There are often times victims connected to these cases who feel the same way. I feel there is too much discretion given to courts from the legislative level with the Sentencing Guidelines and it frustrates me as a Sheriff to see the same individuals coming through the court system without appropriate punishment while our staff works hard to sometimes see victims not get the justice they deserve.
Why are you running for office and what are your goals?
Being your Sheriff was a goal I set for myself when I started my career. Working for the county I have been raised in and raised my own family in has been very rewarding. Quality leadership is important now more than ever, and I believe my office has shown we can answer any challenge we are faced with to keep the residents and visitors of Wadena County safe. We will continue to maintain the programs we have along with continuing education for our staff to keep them highly trained and ready to respond. We will continue to work closely with our schools, churches, and other organizations to keep them trained on responding to an active threat. The well-being of the Sheriff’s Office staff also needs to be highlighted and I want to make sure every member of the Sheriff’s Office has resources available to assist them with their own concerns that the career may have brought on.
I take great pride in the Sheriff's Office we have built over the last 16 years. I want to know that the citizens of Wadena County have the right person leading their Sheriff's Office, and I feel strongly that I have the training and experience necessary to accomplish that. I would ask the citizens to do their research before casting a vote and ask themselves if they want a proven leader or someone who does not know the day to day operations of a Sheriff's Office.
What makes you the best candidate?
At 50 years old, I feel I am in the prime of my career. We have developed one of the best Sheriff’s Offices in central MN by being innovative, proactive, and fiscally responsible- by investing in equipment and training wisely to promote public safety. I have the experience necessary to keep the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office moving forward in 2023 and beyond. We have built a technologically-advanced Sheriff’s office for our size, all while living within our means. From upgrades in our jail and dispatch, to a public safety drone program, SWAT team, K9, Child, Adult, General and Death Investigations, and drug task force position (to name a few), my office is ready to answer the call. Through these upgrades, we are able to get important information out to the public and emergency responders in a timely fashion through our 911 dispatch, which ultimately saves lives and property. In the course of my career, I have restructured the Sheriff’s Office to include licensed deputies in positions that were previously held by civilians. This allows greater flexibility in response to calls, major incidents, large events, and shift coverage when needed.
I have had direct experience with several major incidents over my career, such as the 2009 floods, 2010 tornado, 2013 Green Valley Fire, and 2021 Line 3 replacement. I feel my office has shown we will succeed when faced with any incident.
I am a graduate of both the Minnesota Sheriff's School along with the National Sheriff's School. I am past president and currently sit on the legislative committee for the Minnesota Sheriff's Association and the Board of Directors for both Todd-Wadena Community Corrections and the West Central Drug Task Force. Serving on these allow me to stay up to date on current events that will be coming from state and federal levels that will affect Wadena County.
Can you please tell us more about yourself?
God is the cornerstone in my life. Family is important to me, including your families that live in and visit Wadena County. I am a constitutional sheriff who will continue to fight to protect your freedoms.
I am a working sheriff who is visible and approachable to the people I work for. As sheriff, I am prepared to respond 24/7/365 to any incident or event in Wadena County as I have the last 16 years of my sheriff career. I never forget who put me in this office and that I work for the people and with the people of Wadena County. I have a good working relationship with our local police departments, fire and EMS agencies, along with regional Sheriff's Offices and state agencies. I have worked on maintaining and continually strengthening these relationships over my 28 year career.
I served 21 years on the Verndale Fire Department before retiring. Serving here helped me to understand the Fire and EMS side of public safety and helped build my relationship. These are not relationships that are built overnight, but have been constantly worked on over my 28 years in law enforcement.