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Cass County sheriff runs for re-election

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch is running for re-election. The 55-year-old husband and father of three made the announcement Friday, April 6. He was first elected sheriff in 2010 and has served with the sheriff's office for more than three decades...

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch
Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch runs for re-election. Submitted photo

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch is running for re-election.

The 55-year-old husband and father of three made the announcement Friday, April 6. He was first elected sheriff in 2010 and has served with the sheriff's office for more than three decades.

"You could say I was crazy for doing it again," Burch said jokingly of his re-election bid.

The sheriff's office was mostly up to full staff in 2017, Burch had reported, though it is seeking to fill vacancies again this year. The patrol division is authorized for 37 full-time staff. Two of the four investigators are assigned full time to drug investigations.

"I grew up around law enforcement and public service, and I really enjoyed it," Burch said.

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Burch cited new initiatives during his past terms as sheriff, including court security enhancements, communication enhancements, cross-training of staff, licensed staff in the detention center, emergency management, community outreach days and more.

"We've had a lot of new initiatives in the office that's really created a better-that's created a more safe-environment for our citizens who live in the county and our visitors. And I'm really looking forward to-excited about-enhancing some more of those in the future," he said.

Additional programs and partnerships with community groups and organizations continue to be an ongoing priority of Burch, along with community policing initiatives and department accessibility.

"We're privileged to live where we do and be able to work here, and I can't forget that-that's how important it is," Burch said.

The sheriff's office has responded to an increase in demands in almost every division of the sheriff's office, including calls for service, increased detention center bookings and housing needs, according to Burch.

Burch said through cross-training, reassignments and technology, the sheriff's office has lowered its response time to calls for service and has worked aggressively on crime clearance rates because of his leadership.

"There's some tremendous issues right now with controlled substances-the heroin epidemic, the opioid problem-and one of the biggest challenges of my job is you're balancing the needs-the public safety needs-with the resources that are available," he said.

"And living where we do where it's so rural ... in one minute we can have a very minimum amount of people in our neighborhood and the next minute it can be 100 percent more people just because of the recreation, and the summer homes and the vacationing."

Related Topics: CASS COUNTY
I cover the community of Wadena, Minn., and write articles for the Wadena Pioneer Journal weekly newspaper owned by Forum Communications Co.
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