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Royalton man plans to run for Morrison County Sheriff

A 48-year-old Royalton man has announced that he will run for the position of Morrison County’s sheriff this fall.

Thomas Justin, who is a patrol lieutenant for the St. Cloud Police Department, will join the race with Shawn Larsen, a patrol sergeant with the Morrison County Sheriff’s Office.

Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel previously announced he won’t seek a fourth term as sheriff this fall. Candidates officially can file for open seats in May.

In response to a question and answer email, Justin said running for sheriff is an opportunity for him to give back and serve the citizens of Morrison County. Justin, who has been with the St. Cloud Police Department since 1997, said he has prepared for the leadership position that the sheriff position requires throughout his career. Justin said his personal and professional experiences in leadership, management and budgeting will allow for the development and enhancement of programs and services.

“The apprehension of violent offenders in the county must and will remain a priority,” said Justin. “Crime prevention and drug abuse reduction mandate new proactive approaches, programs and strategies. I have the strong leadership and collaborative management experience to develop, implement and manage programs. I am a strong believer in youth programs and community outreach partnerships.”

Justin has experience working with county, township and city officials.

“My management and leadership experience includes building, reviewing, and oversight of multi-million dollar budgets, supervision and management of complex criminal investigations and severe violent crimes including homicides, missing persons, sexual assaults, firearms and drug investigations,” said Justin. “I have supervised and managed divisions in an organization of 100 officers and 50 support personnel with a $10-plus million budget including patrol, criminal investigations, gangs, drugs, school resource and a crime lab.

“I work corroboratively within the justice system including jails, attorneys, judges and probation. I have 25 years of law enforcement experience in St. Cloud working with three counties and their respective agencies including three sheriff offices, three county jails, three county attorney’s offices, three county probation departments and three county social service agencies, beyond working with the multitude of St. Cloud city departments.”

Justin said his vision for Morrison County is to implement fiscally responsible programs and strategies to enhance county wide public safety; continue to improve community relationships with the sheriff’s office through visibility, outreach and partnerships; complete implementation of the next generation 911 system for the increased safety and security of county residents; and to provide strong leadership and have collaborative management to have all county public safety personnel work as a team.

Justin graduated from Royalton High School in 1984. He attended Northwestern University Police Staff and Command, Alexandria Technical College Law Enforcement Training from 1986-88 and the U.S. Army Military Police from 1984-86. Justin served two years with the U.S. Army Military Police Corps and six years of Military Police Service in the Minnesota Army National Guard.

Justin has been a Royalton School Board member for eight years. “I have great passion for all public safety,” said Justin. “I am service driven, and as Morrison County Sheriff I will take a proactive role to enhance public safety for all citizens served.”

Justin, who is married and has four children, is a member of Holy Trinity Church in Royalton. He and his wife started a small business in 2008 called On Target Training and Consulting, LLC.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER, staff writer, may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow on Twitter at