By Brenda Erdahl
Another candidate has thrown his hat into the ring in the race for the next Wright County Sheriff giving voters three options come the November 6 election.
Mike Kaczmarek formally announced his candidacy on Tuesday, April 24, at the Rockford Township Hall east of Buffalo before a roomful of supporters.
Kaczmarek joins candidates Stacy Braun, a 25-year veteran of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, and Captain Sean Deringer of Maple Lake who has served with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office for 22 years.
The position became available this winter when current sheriff Joe Hagerty announced he would not run for re-election.
Kaczmarek is a life-long resident of Wright County. He grew up and still lives in Woodland Township south of Montrose. After graduating from high school, he attended Alexandria Technical College for law enforcement. He was hired by the Wright County Sheriff’s Office 25 years ago as a patrol deputy and has been there ever since. For 18 of those years he also worked part-time for the Metro Transit Police where he has received five commendations and was recognized as Officer of the Year.
“He has gained varied and vast, as I call it, feet-on-the-ground experience,” said Mike Dekarski, retired owner of Apple Jack Orchards and long-time friend of Kaczmarek who was asked to make the opening remarks, Tuesday. He has experience working with all the area fire departments and state patrol and during his tenure has helped police various large events including the Republican National Convention, the Super Bowl, the Major League All-Star Game and many Twins and Vikings games. During his time with Metro Transit, he also gained experience working with non-law enforcement agencies to find shelters for the homeless, Dekarski said. Closer to home, Kaczmarek spent years keeping guests safe at Apple Jack Orchards in addition to his other deputy duties.
“I’ve seen Mike work with tenderness and compassion with lost children, which happens every year (at the orchard). I’ve also seen Mike act with authority, firmness and respect when he addressed traffic issues and unruly guests,” Dekarski said.
One of the areas Kaczmarek will direct his attention if elected is employee retention. According to Kaczmarek the Wright County Sheriff’s Department has lost approximately 50 deputies in the last three years at a cost of about 2.5 million dollars. “I think we can do better,” he said.
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