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Sheriff department expansion moves to budget talks

By Randy Thoms Jul 17, 2023 | 6:55 AM

Koochiching County Sheriff, Perryn Hedlund (l) with Deputy Sheriff Jon Froemke. (file photo)

A proposal to expand the Koochiching County Sheriff’s Department will move to

Struggles with hiring part-time deputies has Sheriff Perryn Hedlund wanting to all full-time officers.

The department now has four part-time deputies to fill shifts, do transports, and other basic police requirements.

Hedlund says demands for officers elsewhere has impact their ability to hire part-time ones.

“We are competing for staff against agencies that are offering $5,000 sign-on bonuses, back or front-loaded sick leave, vacation time. The deck is stacked against us a little bit. What we offer is a very stable work environment and a very nice place to live for those that desire to live in the north woods. Part-time work is not as attractive as it once was,” says Hedlund.

The department is one of a small few in the state with part-time deputies.

He and the County’s Board of Commissioners have had several meetings about hiring all four as full-time.

Hedlund estimates the cost to be between $420 and $475 thousand, reduced to $295 to $320 thousand when taking into account decreased part-time and overtime costs.

The Countys’ Board Chair, Jason Sjoblom, is supporting, but would like a further discussion on the budget numbers.

“I certainly think this is the right way to go as well, but I really like to take a look at the budget numbers as we’re kind of working forward,” says Sjoblom.

“So just to keep it moving and take a little closer look at what that number would really look like so far as affecting any type of levy costs or things like that. We’ll have a better picture here in probably a month or so two.”


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