Lyon County Sheriff Candidates Sergeant Eric Wallen (left) and Detective Tony Rolling.

Two file for Lyon County Sheriff

Lyon County Sheriff Mark Mather decided to retire at the end of this term. Two have already filed to run for the office, Eric Wallen and Tony Rolling. Here are resumes on these two candidates.

Eric Wallen

Lyon County Sergeant Eric Wallen has announced his candidacy for the job of Lyon County Sheriff. The current Lyon County Sheriff, Mark Mather will not be seeking re-election and retiring at the end of his term in January.

Running for sheriff is something Wallen has considered for several years and has worked toward for much of his law enforcement career. Wallen has enjoyed working for the Sheriff’s Office and serving the people of Lyon County.

It’s a very satisfying job when you know you are helping your community. Wallen believes he has the training, education, and experience to take the office into the next decade.

Sgt. Wallen is a Minneota High School and Southwest Minnesota State University graduate. Wallen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law Enforcement Administration and a Master’s degree in business administration.

As a 20-year veteran with the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, Wallen has rose through the ranks of the sheriff’s office, and has experience with the different aspect of county law enforcement including working as a correctional officer in the jail, patrolling, investigations, and managing the county 911 dispatch center.

For the last 10 years, Wallen has held the position of sergeant and supervises the day-to-day operations of the office. Wallen feels that the Sheriff’s Office is heading in a positive direction, but there is always room for improvement.

There are a few key challenges that he would like the Sheriff’s Office to address in the future. One is the mental health crisis affecting Minnesotans, including many people in Lyon County.

Wallen believes that there could be a more collaborative approach to assuring that those who need mental health services are getting them. Another priority would be addressing concerns about increasing violence in school and public places and working to keep weapons out of the hands of people who intend to do harm, without infringing on the rights of good, law-abiding citizens.

Illegal drug use continues to be a problem statewide. As sheriff, Wallen would like to increase efforts to combat the rising use of methamphetamines as well as opiate and prescription drug abuse.

Wallen views himself as a very fiscally cognizant person who understands the need to watch costs while still providing good service to the county.

Managing cost is not just a matter of fat to cut from the budget, but a need to also be innovative on how we do things moving forward. Such innovations could include sharing resources or collaborating with other area agencies, or the use of cross-training and further education to increase the Sheriff’s Office ability.

Aside from his job with the Sheriff’s Office, Wallen is active in the local community. He and his family live in Marshall where Wallen is involved in the Lions and Rotary clubs.

He is a member of the New Horizons Crisis Center board of directors and the Marshall Area Youth Baseball Association board.

Wallen has also volunteered with the United Way of Southwest Minnesota community impact grants, and is a volunteer youth baseball coach.

Tony Rolling

My name is Tony Rolling, and I am running for the office of Lyon County Sheriff. I graduated in 1990 from Tracy High School and went on to continue my education at SMSU in Marshall.

I attended SMSU for two years and, while there, I discovered that I wanted to become a Law Enforcement Officer and serve my community. I graduated from Alexandria Technical College in 1996 with a degree in Law Enforcement and began my career as a police officer working for the City of Balaton.

Shortly thereafter, I was hired full time as a police officer for the City of Tracy. I worked for the Tracy Police Department for over six years and in 2003, I was hired by Sheriff Joel Dahl as a Lyon County Deputy.

After working as a Deputy for five years, I was promoted to Investigator, where I continue to serve with pride.

I was born and raised in the Tracy area, growing up on the family farm. I grew up learning a sense of how to serve others from my parents and I have found ways to continue this in my own life.

I have been married nearly 22 years, to my wonderful wife, Brenda.

We have two children, our daughter Alex, who is 18, and our son, Mitchell, who is 14. While my children attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Tracy, I served as a member of the school’s Education Committee.

After my children graduated elementary school and moved on to high school, I become a member of the St. Mary’s Church Administrative Council. I have been a member of the fire service for over 20 years.

I was a member of the Garvin Fire Department for nearly two years and I have been a member of the Tracy Fire Department for approximately the last 19 years, currently holding the rank of Assistant Fire Chief. I have been a student of the martial arts since I was a teenager, and I am presently a 4th Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do.

I have been very active in our Tae Kwon Do Association and have been a volunteer instructor for about 25 years. While working for the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, I have held many different leadership roles.

I managed the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office’s Safe and Sober program for two years, and was also the Welfare Fraud Investigator for Lyon County and several surrounding counties.

In 2005, I was appointed to the area Emergency Response Unit (S.W.A.T. team) and remained a member of this Unit for ten years, achieving the position of Team Leader before leaving.

For the past several years, I have been a Field Training Officer, assisting in training new deputies in most all the aspects of investigations. In 2009, I joined the Lyon County SMART Team as a representative for Law Enforcement.

The Lyon County SMART team is a group of organizations including law enforcement, community medical and advocacy professionals, as well as the Lyon County Attorney’s Office and the Minnesota Dept. of Corrections working together to improve our response to those who are victims of sexual violence.

Recently, I have also became a Board Member of the WRAP (Women’s Rural Advocacy Program), which is an advocacy center helping those who are victims of domestic abuse in Lyon, Lincoln, Redwood, and Yellow Medicine Counties.

I believe that there are several areas where the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office can make a large impact in our communities. In today’s culture and news, law enforcement is sometimes seen in a dim light.

When I began in law enforcement, the term “Community Policing” was a key phrase or a new idea.

But I believe that this is not a goal that we should be working towards, or striving for, but is something that we should already been doing. I believe that the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office needs to become a larger stakeholder in our community of Lyon County.

We need to spend more time in the communities we serve-meeting and getting to know those that live and work there.

As we get to know each other better and foster relationships with our community members, we will have more positive interactions.

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