Sheriff Scott Goddard was sworn into office Wednesday, Jan. 9, in the auditorium of his alma mater, Pequot Lakes High School, as part of the first Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department inauguration ceremony in more than a decade.
"Tonight is a special night, it really is," said Goddard. "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."
The auditorium was mostly filled with officers and sheriff's department staff along with friends, family and community members. Former Sheriff Todd Dahl, now retired, was also in attendance.
Goddard was sworn in by Judge David TenEyck with his wife, Carla, and two children, Jordan and Paxton, standing by his side.
Goddard spent the first part of his address following the swearing in looking back on his journey. He said that when searching for a venue for the inauguration, Pequot Lakes stood out to him.
"This is my hometown," he said. "This where I grew up. I'm very proud of being a lifelong resident of Crow Wing County. This was my school, my backyard. I roamed these halls, I could even tell you where my locker was."
Goddard graduated from Pequot Lakes High School in 1988 with 69 others. It was during his time there, he said, that he decided to go into law enforcement.
He remembered a classroom down the second hallway past the entrance. Former officers in the Brainerd lakes area, Dan Gottsch and Mark Forsberg, talked to his class about the Explorer program.
"At that moment, I knew that this is all I ever wanted to do," said Goddard.
Goddard earned a law enforcement certificate at what was then Brainerd Community College, now Central Lakes College, in 1993. He worked as an officer with the Breezy Point Police Department and part time for Pequot Lakes before joining the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office. He briefly returned to Breezy Point before settling back at the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office for the rest of his career.
While climbing the ladder at the sheriff's office, Goddard graduated from patrol deputy to patrol sergeant before getting assigned to the boat and water division. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2013 and captain in 2017.
"Looking back, it's just amazing, because I have reached every pinnacle and achieved every goal that I wanted to," said Goddard. "While it's fun to look back and reminisce, and we could probably tell stories all night, we must never stop looking forward and planning for tomorrow."
Goddard said the sheriff's office has come "leaps and bounds" from where it was years ago and he wants to keep pushing the department to grow by investing in the youth of Crow Wing County.
"We want our youth that are interested in our career to stay here, much like I did," he said.
Goddard ended his address by promising to serve the county to the best of his ability.
"I consider myself blessed to be standing in front of you today, and I don't want to take this responsibility lightly," he said. "The oath that I took, the same oath all of our employees will take, unites us as an office to serve the citizens and one another."
As well as a new leader, the sheriff's office has a new mission statement: "CWC is committed to providing public service that is beneficial to all members of the community through leadership, experience and compassion."
The entirety of sheriff's department employees took the oath of office at the end of the inauguration.
Six sheriff's department employees were promoted during the inauguration ceremony. Many were accompanied and pinned by their wives.
Dave Fischer was named chief deputy after working for the sheriff's office for 22 years. He previously worked as a correctional officer, field deputy, investigator, administrative sergeant and operations lieutenant, and he spent time on the Crow Wing County Tactical Response Team.
Joe Meyer was named captain after 30 years of service. Meyer began as a patrol deputy and worked with the drug task force. He switched to investigations and was promoted to sergeant of investigations before becoming lieutenant.
Andrew Galles was named lieutenant after 22 years on the force. He began his law enforcement career with the Pequot Lakes Police Department. He worked as a police officer in Lester Prairie and Winsted before joining the Wright County Sheriff's Office, and finally Crow Wing County. He worked on the drug task force, moved to investigations and was a sergeant.
Adam Kronstedt was named lieutenant after working with the sheriff's office for 15 years. He started as an intern with the boat and water division. He became a deputy in 2005, was a tactical team member and a sergeant. He was awarded two Medals of Valor from the Minnesota Sheriff's Association.
Todd Holk was named sergeant. Holk also began as an intern with the boat and water division. He then worked as a police officer for the Crosslake Police Department and worked part time with the sheriff's office. He was hired full time with the sheriff's office seven years ago as a deputy.
Brad Thesing was also named sergeant. Thesing started his law enforcement career with the Aitkin County Sheriff's Office before joining the Crow Wing County sheriff's team in 2004. He also worked with the bomb squad.