Sheriff’s Corner: Introducing myself to the residents of Cass County
Cass County Sheriff Bryan Welk grew up in the Remer area and started his career with the sheriff's office in 1997.
Hello, and welcome to our monthly Sheriff Corner article! I am excited to continue this format of sharing information, answering questions, and having an open forum with the communities and readers that Sheriff Burch built for the last 12 years. I think that this platform will continue to be an excellent way to introduce you to the Sheriff’s Office staff, functions and initiatives, as well as being vital for public safety information sharing!
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I grew up in Remer, in northern Cass County, where I continue to live with my wife, Jennifer, and two of our three children. Jen and I have been married for 23 years. I was a volunteer EMT for the Remer Ambulance Service for 15 years, a volunteer firefighter for the Remer Fire Department for 11 years, event chaperon and a volunteer coach for T-ball, pitch and football. Living in a small town in Cass County allows me the opportunity to spend time in the woods and on the lakes. My father taught me how to hunt and fish and to value the gifts of the wild. We ate what we hunted and caught, and we had a respect for those experiences that are still so common in small towns throughout Minnesota. I continue to enjoy these activities, along with woodworking, camping and an unwavering support for the Minnesota Vikings!
In 1997, Cass County Sheriff Jim Dowson hired me to be a part-time dispatcher. I quickly became committed to my law enforcement career. I soon realized that I wanted more direct contact with people and the opportunity to work in a problem-solving capacity. I attended Hibbing Technical College, got my AA Degree in Criminal Justice, and entered a new phase with my career as a deputy sheriff. I went from dispatcher to deputy to patrol sergeant to lieutenant to chief deputy and I now serve as sheriff. I have enjoyed being involved with the day-to-day operations of all divisions of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, which include the Patrol Division, Investigation Division, Boat and Water Division, Civil Division, Dispatch Center, Records Division and Detention Center with 77 total employees.
During my career, I have had the opportunity to be a member of the Emergency Response Team (ERU) for 13 years. I was a crisis negotiator with the team, as well as an entry team member. I served as team sergeant and co-team leader, and then as team commander after my promotion to patrol lieutenant in 2019. I am a charter member and co-founder of the Cass County Honor Guard. I took lessons to learn how to play the bagpipes to perform at ceremonies and funerals.
It has been a great honor to serve in my different capacities within the Cass County Sheriff's Office. I have appreciated the opportunity to learn how all the different areas of the Sheriff's Office work together as a whole organization to best serve the citizens of our county. Law enforcement is a noble profession that requires committed people to perform the duties required to maintain a peaceful society that is safe.
On Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, we held a swearing in ceremony for the licensed staff and their families. This was a special day as we expanded our team, our leadership, and our extended family.
I have always held firmly the belief that each of our uniformed members of our office should formally and publicly take their oath of office and swear to support and defend the constitutions of the United States and the State of Minnesota. I believe this public declaration builds personal pride and enhances community trust.
At the Sheriff’s Office, we want to start the tradition of these events. In doing so, it is our intention to honor our current employees and all who follow. The honorable. The brave. The compassionate. Those who have answered this calling. Our team of law enforcement professionals — our protectors, in every role and every division of our office — who serve and sacrifice on our behalf every single day.
We take time away from our loving families to work odd hours and long shifts — on nights, weekends, and holidays. We are exposed to people at their worst, serving victims who are in their time of need, and routinely handle things that would make most people run away — or at least keep them up at night. We run toward the dangers that others flee from. We walk a path that very few understand and even fewer choose to walk. We choose to help, to serve, to protect, to make a positive difference — and we choose to continue earning your trust every day.
Our protectors are good people with good hearts who have also made a choice; to swear an oath to protect and serve their communities and our families with all they have, including their own lives, if need be. Yet they remain honorable, noble and worthy of our trust — and our undying support.
We gladly accept this calling to serve and protect our citizens and visitors of our great county, without regard to their income, background, skin color, orientation or even how they think, or feel, about them. Our protectors continue to represent what is right in this world. That’s why I am so proud of every member of our team.
We will be writing about future goals and initiatives of this office in future monthly articles, and we will be vigilant in continuing to build relationships with our communities. We will continue to be responsive and to build on the foundation previous sheriffs have started.
I would like to thank our readers and media partners who consistently publish our articles and news releases in a variety of formats and publications and support our mission of the delivery of public safety services and initiatives to Cass County.
If you have specific questions that you would like answered in this column or in person, please feel free to contact me anytime using one of the following methods: By email at email@example.com ; by phone at 218-547-1424 or 800-450-2677; or by mail or in person at the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, 303 Minnesota Ave. W, P.O. Box 1119, Walker, MN, 56484.