Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch announces retirement

After 12 years as sheriff and a total of 35 years with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Burch announced he will not seek re-election in 2022 for another term as sheriff.

Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch
Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch

WALKER — It was during a college internship with Cass County almost 35 years ago when Tom Burch, the current Cass County Sheriff, found his calling.

“It was something that was very interesting and I just stayed, I never left,” Burch said. “You know, as I was growing up, I didn't think that I would actually go into law enforcement. But once I started getting a taste of it and doing it, it was something that was real appealing. I get to know a lot of community members — a lot of support from them — and the next thing I know, it's 35 years later.”

After 12 years as sheriff and a total of 35 years with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Burch announced he will not seek reelection for another term as sheriff and he will step aside at the end of his term allow for the next sheriff to have the opportunity to mold the way the department moves into the future.

“It's just time,” Burch said. “You know, 35 years is a long time. And, you know, (I) just want to get out and do some other things, see some other things.”

In his announcement, Burch said it was with mixed feelings that he chose not to seek reelection in 2022 but will continue to serve the citizens of Cass County as sheriff through the end of his third term, December of 2022.


When Burch started with the department, he said computers were a pipe dream and cameras in squad cars were unheard of at the time, let alone a body-worn camera.

The biggest thing I'll take away from the job is the positive stuff that happened.
Cass County Sheriff Tom Burch

“You know, we like to be proactive,” Burch said. “That's our main goal. But, in reality, we are reactive to what happens, and we get prepared for one thing, it changes and you really need to have the ability to adapt and change instantly to keep ahead of the curve.”

Adapting to the changes over the years, Burch said the safety of the community and of his deputies who served to protect that community was always at the forefront of his decisions.

“The biggest thing I'll take away from the job is the positive stuff that happened, the ‘thank you for keeping us safe,’ ‘finding our loved one’s,’ you know, things like that. You could go to the negative stuff, but it just took one good day to cover up a whole week of bad things. So that's kind of what I like to dwell on.”

When asked about his replacement or if he would be endorsing anyone for sheriff, Burch said they have some good internal candidates but he would not be endorsing anyone for sheriff.

“I think the public is well informed and they'll make a good decision,” Burch said. “I think it's important that they play a big part in that decision. I think it's up to the community, so I don't think I should be swaying their vote either way. We have such a good relationship with our community, they understand how our office works, they know a lot of our employees and I'm sure they'll make a good decision as to which way our future goes.”

Burch thanked all those who have helped and worked with him throughout his career, especially the staff of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office

“I am very proud of the dedication and professionalism of our staff and the way they serve all the citizens in our county,” he said.


“It's been a great career, but it's just time to move on.”

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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