County sheriff will step down earlyDon Gudmundson plans to leave earlier than expected. The Dakota County Sheriff announced last September he would not seek a fifth term, choosing to retire at the end of 2010, but Gudmundson announced in a memo to the Dakota County Board of Commissioners last week he plans to leave office earlier – by the end of February.
By: Jane Lightbourn, Rosemount Town Pages
Don Gudmundson plans to leave earlier than expected.
The Dakota County Sheriff announced last September he would not seek a fifth term, choosing to retire at the end of 2010, but Gudmundson announced in a memo to the Dakota County Board of Commissioners last week he plans to leave office earlier – by the end of February.
In the memo, Gudmundson said it was his intention to complete his current term but that “circumstances have changed which have caused me to reconsider.”
While he did not specify in the memo what those circumstances are, Gudmundson later cited personal and family reasons.
He praised his office, staff, and the supportive working relationship with the commissioners, county attorney James Backstrom and administrator Brandt Richardson.
The Dakota County Sheriff's office is staffed with a talented, hard-working, ethical and diverse working force, he said.
“I am confident in their ability to keep Dakota County safe and secure,” Gudmundson said.
He also praised his current and former staff.
“I am especially indebted to chief deputy Dave Bellows and commanders Blair Anderson and John Grant for their efforts on my behalf,” he said. “I would be remiss if I didn't mention sheriff Rod Boyd, chief deputy Rich Thul and retired commanders Len Fox, Dick Roberts, Greg Peterson, Mike Scott and B.J. Bjorge for their support.”
He also thanked his administrative assistants Julie Ecker and Vicki Krick.
He thanked his wife Merry and family who have “always stood with me through long working hours and late night and early morning calls out to scenes of sometimes unspeakable tragedies, and for being gone on so many birthdays and holidays. They have always been there.”
Gudmundson’s departure sooner than expected will mean the commissioners must appoint a sheriff to serve out the remaining 10 months of the term. Gudmundson made his feelings clear about who his successor should be, and downplayed any political maneuvering.
“I am recommending that the board of commissioners appoint chief deputy Dave Bellows as the next Dakota County sheriff,” he said. “Even though we are on a firm foundation at the sheriff’s office, we face critical times and issues on many levels; Dave has the leadership ability, integrity, budget knowledge and personal skills which will make him an excellent sheriff for the citizens of Dakota County.”
After Gudmundson's announcement last fall, Bellows announced he would file as candidate for the sheriff in this year’s election. Apple Valley Police Sgt. Mitch Scott has also indicated he will file as a candidate.
The next regular meeting of the board of commissioners is Tuesday, Feb. 23. Gudmundson said he would not be able to attend the meeting because of a prior commitment.
Gudmundson is a former police officer and homicide detective from Detroit, Mich. He also investigated organized crime in Chicago. He is the former sheriff of Fillmore County and the former chief of police in Lakeville.
Gudmundson was first elected Dakota County sheriff in 1994, and was re-elected in 1998, 2002, and 2006.