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Candidate for sheriff criticizes board's appointment of Bellows

Apple Valley Police Sgt. Mitch Scott, a candidate for Dakota County sheriff, in a written statement, indicated he had requested that Dave Bellows neither seek nor accept an "appointment" from the Board of Commissioners.

"Although the retiring of a Sheriff in midterm is a common practice throughout the United States, unfortunately this practice is usually done to assist the chief deputy or under sheriff with being elected the following term by allowing them to run as the incumbent," Scott said. "The citizens of Dakota County deserve to choose their sheriff for the next four years."

He would have preferred the County Commissioners engage in "an open process to determine the most qualified person to fulfill the duties of the County Sheriff pending the results of this fall's election. The only process I understand was that of the retiring Sheriff asked the board to appoint his longtime friend," said Scott.

Gudmundson has twice indicated his support for Bellows.

"The County Commissioners rejected, without any debate or discussion, the options of undertaking a selection process to name an interim sheriff or the appointment of a qualified non-candidate to fill the position pending the results of the election," Scott said.

Scott also said the County Commissioners have no business being "king makers."

When the discussion of appointing a sheriff was held during the Board of Commissioners meeting, Board Chair Thomas Egan did allow people to speak, if they chose. No one offered an comment.

Scott said it is time to bring a new vision to services performed by the Dakota County Sheriff's department.

"The Dakota County Sheriff oversees the largest law enforcement agency in the county and needs new leadership to find a way to more effectively promote public safety on a reasonable budget and reduce the burden on the county taxpayers" he said.