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Morrison sheriff won't seek re-election

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news Brainerd, 56401

Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel on Thursday announced he won’t seek a fourth term as sheriff this fall.

Wetzel, 49, said he hopes his successor will bring new energy and ideas to the office. He said that after 12 years as sheriff (when he concludes his term) and about 31 years with the Morrison County Sheriff’s Department a person’s “tank” starts to run dry.

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“After 12 years you certainly can’t claim you have the same drive, the same passion,” he said.

The Little Falls area native has spent his entire career with the Morrison County Sheriff’s Department, starting out while he was still in college. He began his career in Little Falls as a part-time dispatcher/jailer and later served as a patrol sergeant.

He said he’s eligible to draw a pension and is able to “pull the pin” since he’s been careful with his money.

“I take the most pride, clearly, in the men and women that work here with me,” he said of his career. Their work, he said, makes him proud day in and day out.

“There are hundreds of cases you remember for good or bad but it will be the people here I remember the most.”

Wetzel said he wanted to give potential candidates for his job time to consider whether they were ready for a new challenge and time to prepare their campaigns.

In a statement he said: “It has been a true privilege to lead a team filled with so many talented and hard-working men and women. I look forward to continuing to lead you until the people of our county choose my successor this fall. Until that time I will continue to provide the highest level of public safety to the citizens of our great county.”

Wetzel, who was first elected to his post in 2002, said it has been a pleasure and a privilege to serve the people of Morrison County.

He said he’s already talked to his staff about working to prevent any divisions that might surface as a result of his announcement.

“I’ve seen elections fracture offices,” he said. “I’m sure guys understand they have to keep their campaigns out of the work place and make sure the important work we do doesn’t get lost.”

Wetzel, who turns 50 in February, outlined the outdoor pursuits that he expected would keep him busy in retirement.

“First and foremost I’m going to do more duck hunting and more fishing than I do, which is considerable right now.”

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at 855-5860 or mike.orourke@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MikeORourkenews.

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