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Interim sheriff Bellows appoints a new chief deputy

Dakota County's acting sheriff will soon have a top deputy.

On Monday, Dakota County Interim Sheriff Dave Bellows announced he has appointed Tim Leslie as the new chief deputy sheriff in the Dakota County.

Under state law, the sheriff can appoint a new top deputy and it does not have to be someone from within the department. The same process was followed 10 years ago when former sheriff Don Gudmundson selected a top deputy after the retirement of Rich Thul. Bellows at that time was a member of the Lakeville Police Department.

Leslie has been an assistant commissioner of public safety overseeing several law enforcement and regulatory divisions at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety since 2003. Those divisions have included the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the State Patrol, Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Alcohol and Gambling enforcement, the State Fire Marshal and the Office of Pipeline Safety.

He has also been responsible for the Statewide Public Radio System project and served on many statewide committees and advisory boards in his assignment as assistant commissioner.

Leslie has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, beginning as a police officer with the St. Paul Police Department in 1980. During his career with St. Paul, Leslie served in a variety of assignments and was promoted to sergeant, lieutenant, commander and senior commander. He also served as chief of staff for then St. Paul Police Chief William Finney.

Leslie brings as wide a breadth of public safety leadership and experience from the local and state levels as an officer on the street, a first-line supervisor, and an administrator of large agencies for the St. Paul Police Department and the State of Minnesota, according to Bellows.

"I look forward to Tim joining our leadership team," Bellows said. "His expertise will be an asset to our office and the citizens of Dakota County."

Leslie has a bachelor's degree from Mankato State University and a master's degree from the University of St. Thomas. He and his wife, Julie, have four children and live in West St. Paul.

Leslie will begin his new position with the Sheriff's Office in early April.

Final ratification of Leslie's appointment is expected when the Dakota County Board of Commissioners meets next week.