Election 2018: Lyon County Sheriff

Eric Wallen

 What began as a four-candidate race has been whittled down to just one person. Jim Marshall took the job as head of the police department in Marshall and Wallen was alone in the race.

Eric Wallen

1. What are the main reasons you want to be the Lyon County Sheriff? I want to be the Lyon County Sheriff to ensure we continue to provide the highest quality public safety services and ensure that all Lyon County citizens feel safe in our community. My vast experience within the office and my managerial and law enforcement education will allow me to bring a fresh perspective to the job. My 20 years of experience with the Sheriff’s Office has allowed me to understand all aspects of the office’s operation. In 1998, I was first hired to work for Lyon County as a correctional officer. I have been promoted three times: first to patrol deputy, then to investigator, and in 2008 to my current role of sergeant. As sergeant, I am second in command to the Sheriff and am tasked with the supervision of day-to-day operations of the office. In addition to my practical experience, my educational training, that includes a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement administration and Master’s of Business Administration degree from SMSU, will allow me to handle the personnel matters and financial tasks necessary of the position and be a responsible steward of the taxpayer’s resources.

2. What major changes do you propose or what programs are needed to make the office better? During my 20-year tenure with the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, I had the privilege to work under the three previous sheriffs and I’m proud of the work this office has done. However, I think there are some things we can do better. I spent the last several months speaking with Lyon County citizens about what we need to do better to improve the office and our community. These conversations will inform my work if I’m elected and I will work to do the following: 1. Increase the presence of the sheriff’s office within county schools by providing an increased security presence and involvement in school events. 2. Continue to deter drug abuse and addiction by enforcing drug laws, educate the public about the dangers of drug use, and combat addiction by supporting programs such as drug court. 3. Collaborate with other stakeholders to find workable solutions to address the mental health crisis in our community. As sheriff, I will address each of these concerns in a fiscally responsible manner and work to ensure that we can create safer communities while still keeping an eye on the bottom line.

3. Is the department adequately staffed or are more needed? The sheriff’s office has a staff of 52 employees; 17 of which are licensed police officers. At this point in time, our workforce is of sufficient size to meet our call volume and provide the required service hours for the five county communities that contract with the sheriff’s office. While we have the right number of bodies, restructuring the office by creating additional supervisory positions would allow the office to run more effectively. The trend in law enforcement is to ensure that a supervisor is always on duty to answer questions and guide and mentor younger officers. Such a restructure would be especially helpful in Lyon County given the relatively few years of experience of many of our deputies. To execute this, Lyon County would need to create two patrol supervisory positions to have a supervisor on duty at all time. We are fortunate the sheriff’s office has several qualified deputies capable of serving in this capacity and could fill thee positions by promoting within. Such a restructure would make sense from a monetary standpoint as it would mitigate county liability and ensure that we are providing a high level of safety services.

Eric Wallen

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Address: 201 N. Jefferson
Minneota, MN 56264

Phone:(507) 872-6492