Another Minneota officer hired by sheriff

It didn’t take long for Lyon County Sheriff Eric Wallen to notice the work of Minneota part-time police officer Austin Thompson. Tuesday Thompson joined a long list of part-time Minneota officers who made the jump to become county deputies. But few have done so with notoriety.

“He helped deliver a baby,” said Lyon County Commissioner Charlie Sanow. It got a good laugh, but in the end Thompson was hired as a deputy sheriff. He was hired at a rate of $23.27 per hour and is expected to start about September 3.

Last week, Minneota Police Chief Bill Bolt told the Minneota City Council that Thompson would be allowed to continue work as a part-time officer — at least for the coming year. Thompson, a Minneota graduate, finished his officers training this past year and immediately was hired by Chief Bolt as a part-time officer in Minneota.

Thompson was involved in the delivery of a baby recently at the town hall in Minneota.

He is also a first responder. “Sure, he can work part-time. A lot of officers have,” Commissioner Steve Ritter told The Mascot.

Thompson, in a recent article in the Minneota Mascot written by Scott Thoma, said he became interested in being an officer when he accepted a dare from classmates and asked Minneota part-time officer Joel Walerius if he could ride along.

Walerius later became one of those Minneota part-timers to join the sheriff’s staff. “Sure come along,” Walerius told Thompson.

He found the work, “Interesting and appealing,” and decided to make law enforcement his career. He went to Minnesota West in Worthington and did his on-the-job training with Chief Bolt and the Minneota police department.

He began as a bicycle officer, helping people in the community. Now, he’s trading in that bike for a sheriff’s deputy vehicle. Chief Bolt has been one of Thompson’s supporters.

“He has shown a high aptitude for working with people and understanding the concerns of others,” said Chief Bolt. Now, only 20 years old, he’s embarking on a new career.

Most likely Chief Bolt will be looking for another part-time officer — someone Sheriff Wallen can steal from him again. Actually, it’s a win-win for everyone. Minneota gets officer help, so does the county — and Austin Thompson is in the middle of it all.

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