When you first begin school for law enforcement, you are filled with excitement, hope and the desire to help every member of your community.
You go through school knowing that you will face certain calls at some point in your career, from burglaries, narcotics investigations, child and adult protection, natural disasters, and even homicides. In school, you are trained for these events and taught how to handle them in the moment, as well as how to deal with any residual effects.
In my 27 years in law enforcement, I have seen and worked all of these incidents and many more, but I can say without a doubt I never expected to be facing a global pandemic, much less one of this magnitude, with no training manual.
This pandemic has been a game changer, to say the least, in all of our lives. When this first started, we faced countless unknowns and had to come together with all walks of Wadena County and Minnesota as a whole to get everything ready and work out the kinks of operating business with minimal disruption and maximum safety.
Fast forward seven months and there are still many unknowns, now coupled with civil unrest and police opposition, adding another layer of stress and uncertainty to the current times.
With instant access to information on social media and other platforms, it is easy to get wrapped up in all of the negativity in the world. This has had a tremendous impact on businesses as well as individuals. There are many whose livelihoods are walking a tightrope between staying afloat and losing everything. For many people, this has been one of the darkest times they have experienced in life, with anxiety surrounding what the next step is and when we can resume normal life again.
As your sheriff, I have faith in the Lord and know he wants us to comfort one another in these dark and uncertain days, not fear what will come next. I believe that if he brings you to it, he will bring you through it.
The greatest blessing in all of this has been overwhelming support from this incredible community for the sheriff’s office, police departments, fire departments, first responders and EMS workers.
There isn’t a time when I am out in public that I don’t hear someone thanking us for our services or see a community member buying coffee or lunch for one of us. It is incredible to see that kindness, support, and just to know that the community we serve has our backs.
In time, this will pass, and we will slowly get back to our normal way of living. However, until then, check up on each other, make sure you are treating everyone with the kindness you would want on your very darkest day, regardless of which side of the arena you play on.
Once again, as your sheriff, I would like to extend my deepest thanks for the unwavering support and encouragement that Wadena County has shown all of us emergency personnel. It truly makes the hard days that much better!