PEQUOT LAKES-It's official-Scott Goddard is the new sheriff in town.

Goddard was sworn in as the Crow Wing County sheriff Wednesday, Jan. 9, by retired Judge David Ten Eyck in front of an audience mainly of sheriff's office deputies, correctional officers, 911 dispatchers and office staff; along with families and community members and former Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl, who retired.

Goddard's wife Carla and their two children, Jordan and Paxton, who are students in the Pequot Lakes School District, stood by his side during his oath of office. The ceremony was in the Pequot Lakes High School Auditorium.

Goddard began his speech recognizing and thanking Dahl, his supporters and his family.

"Tonight is a special night as this is the first time in 12 years we have been able to come together at a venue such as this as a team to focus on our future," Goddard said. "Before we look forward, I always like to look back. When we decided on a venue for where we should go, we heard a number of questions and comments on why are we having this in Pequot Lakes. As the superintendent alluded to, this is my hometown. This is where I grew up and I am very proud of the fact of being a lifelong resident of Crow Wing County."

Goddard grew up in the Pequot Lakes/Jenkins Township area, graduating in 1988 from Pequot Lakes High School. Goddard graduated with a class of 69 students, which was one of the biggest classes at that time. Goddard reminisced about walking the hallways as a student, how the pizza burger was the best school lunch meal ever and how a school referendum passed in 1977. He said the money was going to either build a swimming pool or an auditorium.

"I really was pushing for the pool, but really in the long run it turned the other way and turned out to be in my advantage," Goddard said.

Goddard said it was within the school walls when he realized he wanted to have a career in law enforcement. He said Dan Gottsch and Mark Forsberg, former law enforcement officers in the Brainerd lakes area, came to talk to students about the Explorer program. After their talk, that was it. It is all he ever wanted to do, he said.

Goddard earned his law enforcement certificate in 1993 from the then-Brainerd Community College, now Central Lakes College. His first law enforcement post was as an officer with the Breezy Point Police Department and he also was a part-time officer with the Pequot Lakes Police Department. Goddard took a position with the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office, but went back to Breezy Point before returning to the sheriff's office.

Goddard was promoted from patrol deputy to patrol sergeant and assigned to the boat and water division in 2007. He then was promoted to lieutenant in 2013 and to captain in 2017. Goddard was responsible for overseeing the boat and water division, dive team, patrol, 911 dispatch, court security, transport and civil process of the sheriff's office; and as captain he oversaw the patrol functions, investigations, dispatch and volunteer-related divisions and personnel.

Goddard filled a variety of roles over his law enforcement career, including being a field training officer, a background investigator, firearms instructor, departmental armorer, Force on Force instructor; served as an operator, assistant team leader and co-commander of the tactical team; and the ALICE-Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate-trainer.

Goddard spoke of the additions the county buildings went through, including the Crow Wing County Judicial Center, which includes the courthouses and jail, opening in 2007 and the new 911 Dispatch Center that opened in 2017.

"We must never stop looking forward and planning for tomorrow," Goddard said. "Since the election there has been a whirlwind of change around our office. We've established a strong chain of command and placement of our personnel has been our highest priority.

"With all of this in place, we all of us can turn our attention to shaping our future, the future of the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office."

Following the ceremony, Dahl said it was great to see his colleagues from the sheriff’s office getting promoted.

“They’re moving up in the ranks, and that’s what we really want to do within administration, we want to make them better than we ever were. I really think that we’ve all done that,” Dahl said. “We have a great staff and we have wonderful people and the community is wonderful, they get behind us, and I couldn’t be more proud.”

Promotions in the sheriff's office

• Dave Fischer was named chief deputy. Fischer has been with the sheriff's office for 22 years. He was hired in 1996 as a correctional officer, promoted to a field deputy in 1998, assigned as an investigator in 2001 and then promoted to an administrative sergeant in 2007. Three years later, in 2010, Fischer was promoted to operations lieutenant. He also served on the Crow Wing County Tactical Response Team for eight years from 1999-2007.

• Joe Meyer was named captain. Meyer has been with the sheriff's office for 30 years. He started out as a patrol deputy, then was assigned to the drug task force. He then moved into investigations and was promoted to sergeant of investigations. In 2013, he became lieutenant.

• Andrew Galles was named lieutenant. Galles has been with the sheriff's office for 22 years. Galles graduated from Pequot Lakes High School. His first law enforcement job was as a police reserve officer in Pequot Lakes. He worked as a police officer in Lester Prairie and Winsted before becoming a deputy with the Wright County Sheriff's Office and later Crow Wing County. He served on the drug task force, moved into investigations and was a sergeant.

• Adam Kronstedt was named lieutenant. Kronstedt has been with the sheriff's office for 15 years, beginning as a boat and water intern. He became a deputy in 2005, was a tactical team member and a sergeant. He was awarded two Medal of Valors from the Minnesota Sheriff's Association, with the last one in December 2018 for saving a drowning victim.

• Todd Holk was named sergeant. Holk, a Brainerd High School graduate, began with the sheriff's office as a boat and water intern. He then worked as a police officer for the Crosslake Police Department and worked part-time with the sheriff's office in the boat and water division. He was hired full-time with the sheriff's office in 2011 as a deputy.

• Brad Thesing was named sergeant. Thesing, a Brainerd High School graduate, began his law enforcement career with the Aitkin County Sheriff's Office. He then joined the Crow Wing County sheriff's team 14 years ago as a deputy. He also worked with the bomb squad.

Moving forward

Goddard said the sheriff's office ongoing remodeling project will be completed in the near future. Changes include renaming Law Enforcement Center-what the sheriff's office has always been known as-to the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office also has a new mission statement: "The Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office is committed to providing public service that is beneficial to all members of the community through leadership, experience and compassion."