A familiar face moves on from Cass County

After almost 36 years of working for county law enforcement, Cass County Sheriff’s Office administrative assistant Pauline Fahey looks forward to retirement.

A woman sitting behind a desk.
Pauline Fahey talks about retirement Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, at the Cass County Sheriff’s Office. After working for multiple counties for almost 36 years, she looks forward to starting a new chapter of life.
Tim Speier / Brainerd Dispatch

WALKER — Retirement is often a time people look forward to in their lives — a time to slow down, sit back and relax.

For Pauline Fahey, who recently retired after more than two decades as a Cass County Sheriff’s Office administrative assistant and 36 years total in county government, the idea of retirement as a time to slow probably isn’t in the cards.

“I can't see myself just sitting home doing nothing,” Fahey said.

Anyone who has wanted to directly talk to any of the Cass County sheriffs in the past 24 years, chances are it was Fahey who greeted them at the sheriff’s department. That familiarity in the office came to an end Friday, Feb. 24, as Fahey said goodbye to her second family, the employees at the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

“Pauline’s been a staple here for many years,” said Cass County Sheriff Bryan Welk. “She's worked for three different sheriffs so she brought a lot of experience to me as a new sheriff coming in. That stability, I'm gonna miss it.”


Born in Willmar, Fahey grew up around the Twin Cities before moving up to Elbow Lake in Aitkin County in the early 1980s, where she finished out her last two years of high school.

Fahey became familiar with the inner workings of the Aitkin County Sheriff's Office through a program where she worked for the department during high school. When a position became available in 1987, the department reached out to see if she was interested.

“For the first three years, I was the head cook,” Fahey said. “Then they developed their records division and they asked me to be in charge of that. For the last six years, I was the administrative officer.”

While working as the Aitkin County administrative officer, Fahey said she once found herself being dragged out to Moondance Jam in Walker by her friends. Never thinking she would find herself at a music festival, Fahey said she was walking around when she met her future husband, someone who came from a family of attorneys and judges, who also found himself out of place at the festival.

“So I always joked that here's this straight-laced person going to this event, meeting this other straight-laced person,” Fahey said. “... I ended up getting engaged, getting married and ending up applying for a job up here with the University of Minnesota Extension office.”

Moving to Cass County in 1999, Fahey said she enjoyed working with the University of Minnesota Extension over the summer, but found she was missing law enforcement and the opportunity it gave to help her community.

In December 1999, Fahey found herself once again working with law enforcement in records at the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

“So I worked about a year and a half in records, then the administrative assistant retired and Randy (Fisher), the sheriff at that time, asked me if I would take that job,” Fahey said. “I had a hard time deciding because I really liked the record's position. And I really liked this side. So I ended up taking the position as administrative assistant.”


A woman sitting behind a desk.
Pauline Fahey talks about retirement Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, at the Cass County Sheriff’s Office. After working for multiple counties for almost 36 years, she looks forward to starting a new chapter of life.
Tim Speier / Brainerd Dispatch

Fahey said she was glad she accepted the position because in 2004 she became involved with Minnesota TRIAD , a partnership between law enforcement, senior citizens and community groups. The groups work together to promote safety and reduce the fear of crime that seniors experience.

“Pauline is a fierce advocate for our seniors through the TRIAD program,” said Kelly Lake, Carlton County Sheriff. “She's extremely dedicated and passionate about serving seniors and helping keep seniors safe.”

Lake got to know Fahey through the Minnesota TRIAD program and saw her dedication firsthand during her time as the Minnesota Sheriffs Association president in 2015. As she was finishing up her yearlong appointment as the board's president, Lake said she presented the President's Award to Fahey for her dedication to TRIAD and the sheriff's offices within Minnesota.

“The President's Award is awarded by the outgoing Minnesota Sheriffs Association president to a person who has given unselfishly of themselves, their time, effort and experience,” Lake said. “This person has done an exceptional job in promoting the office of sheriff, and truly stands out from the rest, willing to give something extra. So that's what the President's Award is, in a nutshell.

“She's just an amazing person with a huge heart. I'm happy to see that she's going to enter into the next phase in life and retirement, but she will be greatly missed.”

To Fahey, the award is coveted as she always tells others, she considers TRIAD her “purpose in life.”

Currently serving with TRIAD on both the state and Cass County boards, Fahey said she plans to become more active in TRIAD during retirement. Along with TRIAD, Fahey said she accepted a part-time job and plans to continue doing some work as a transcriptionist.

“I'm gonna miss it,” Fahey said of the sheriff’s office. “It's hard leaving.”


With five grandchildren and a husband who still enjoys running his own business, Fahey said she is going to ease into retirement with a few part-time jobs and some planned family trips.

“Everybody's happy for her to enjoy her next venture in life, but at the same time … she means a lot to our department, she goes above and beyond and can always be counted on to respond, whatever it is,” Welk said. “She's a worker bee. She's one of them people that just gets things done.”

TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme , call 218-855-5859 or email .

Tim Speier joined the Brainerd Dispatch in October 2021, covering Public Safety.
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