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There’s a new Sheriff in town

Fri, Jul 11th, 2014
Posted in All Features

Well, not yet. But, there will be. With Fillmore County Sheriff Daryl Jensen scheduling his retirement for the near future, his last day on the job will be January 5, 2015. On that day, a new Sheriff will be sworn in to office for Fillmore County. And, the voters of Fillmore County will elect that Sheriff on election day on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. The Fillmore County Journal sat down with both candidates for interviews, asking each candidate the same questions to share their answers with readers.

Tom Kaase Q & A

How is he managing his campaign?

Answer: He plans on making a lot of personal contact, going door-to-door, participating in parades, and meeting with different groups or agencies to answer questions. He wants for people to know that he has “always been available to the public,” and he looks forward to working in the capacity as the Fillmore County Sheriff.

Why is he running for Fillmore County Sheriff?

Answer: Kaase is running for Sheriff because it is being vacated. And, with 30 years of law enforcement experience, he feels that his training, leadership, and advancement opportunities make him best suited to take over as Fillmore County Sheriff.

What is his vision for the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department?

Answer: He’d want to maintain the professionalism established by all previous Sheriffs. “They’ve all been leaders.” Kaase said he’d “want to continue that and hopefully enhance that.” He shared a story about when he worked at the Preston IGA when Vern Dahl owned it, and Vern told him, “I will show you everything I know, and you should be able to take those ideas and make them better with what you know.” Kaase said that he recognizes that he has tough shoes to fill.

How would he improve the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department?

Answer: With his experience, he focuses on collaborative efforts at the Rochester Police Department. And, he emphasized that they strive to focus on the symptoms of problems, such as behavior caused by substance abuse or mental health issues. With his Crisis Intervention Training, he works on helping officers improve communication skills with people they come in contact with while on duty. He is also an advocate for transparency, the same way he has operated as a county commissioner for six years. And, he wants people to know that the “success of the department doesn’t depend on one person; it depends on the entire staff at the Sheriff’s office.” While Kaase got his start at the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department, and he has been at the Rochester Police Department for the majority of his career, he has stayed close to the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department as a county commissioner. He has sat on committees and task forces pertaining to facility operations, and he feels he has stayed connected with the department throughout years of change and decisions that have been made. He sat on the Southeast Regional Radio Board and State Radio Board throughout the upgrade in radio communications over the past few years. Kaase also serves on the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee. He was the first D.A.R.E. officer of Fillmore County, designing and implementing the program years ago. He would also like to get more citizen input with review groups, believing that the department needs more outside involvement and insight.

How would he possibly change the organizational structure of the department?

Answer: Kaase feels the current organizational structure is workable. However, he would consider reallocating resources to add a school liason or school resource officer that spends more time in the schools connecting with students and teachers. He would also look into revisiting the idea of having a K-9 unit for the department. And, he feels that there needs to be a greater training and equipment investment in the department so that they don’t need to rely upon the Rochester Police Department Emergency Response Unit. When they’ve had to get support for the ERU, it can take up to two hours before they arrive. Kaase feels that sensitive, urgent situations may not allow for enough time for ERU to show up and provide support. He also feels that with Destination Medical Center generating expansion in our region, the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department will be affected by the growth in some ways, as well. “We need to plan for the future,” he said.

How does he feel about the current facilities?

Answer: “While the department and facility is currently under the state guidelines, we have to figure out what we are going to do in the future,” shared Kaase. He feels we need to do some cost analysis and look at the whole picture before we make any decisions about our facilities for the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department.

What are his political views?

Answer: “Conservative. My actions and decisions as a Fillmore County commissioner have shown that.”

How accessible will he be as the Sheriff?

Answer: “Very accessible, not only to citizens but to staff.” He said he’s shown that as a commissioner, making his personal e-mail and cell phone available to the public. In addition, he attends annual township meetings to keep in contact. “When citizens want to meet, I’ve personally gone and met with them.” He believes that people want to see the Sheriff out in the community.

What will he consider as his measurable successes as Sheriff?

Answer: “Improved transparency.” He wants to share more information with the public and build upon the department’s new record management system -- which he says is superior to what they have in the Rochester Police Department. And, while he will be focused on reducing crimes that are drug-related, property theft and burglary, assaults, child abuse, human trafficking and exploitation, he feels the record management system will help give the department and the public a clear look at the operations and its efficiencies.

How does he feel about allowing guns in schools to help protect faculty and children from potential threats?

Answer: “No. How many times do we hear of a person that has a gun to defend themself, and it gets used on them by the perpetrator?” Instead, Kaase feels that a school liason or school resource officer would be the better alternative. He feels that regular citizens lack the training and education that police officers receive to prepare them for the stressful, split-decision situations that can occur while on duty.

Is there a drug problem in Fillmore County?

Answer: “Yes. It is indisputable to say that we don’t have kids using drugs in our schools. And, county-wide we have citizens and visitors using and abusing drugs. We don’t like to think we have a drug problem in our small communities, but we do.” As he referenced that he was the first coordinator of the D.A.R.E. program in Fillmore County, Kaase would strive to work closer with the schools. And, while Fillmore Central does not currently participate in the D.A.R.E. program, he would make it a goal to get them involved, as well.

Brian Miner Q & A

How is he managing his campaign?

Answer: Miner said, “It’s been going good for me. Going to parades and various events like Dairy Night on the Farm.” He has a lot of help from his family and friends. And, Miner has met with current Sheriff Daryl Jensen to answer questions about the position. He plans on doing some “meet and greets,” service club presentations, door-to-door, and he’ll be at the Fillmore County Fair talking with people all week.

Why is he running for Fillmore County Sheriff?

Answer: He has a few different reasons. First, it’s a good opportunity for him and he is confident in his abilities. Second, he feels that he has invested 19 years of his time, efforts and resources in the department, and vice versa, the department has made an investment in him. Third, he cares, which he feels is the most important reason. He believes in making progress, and he wants to make sure that the department strives to provide the best service to the public.

What is his vision for the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department?

Answer: Miner said he is probably a little biased, but he thinks they have a great team right now. “In the past five years, we’ve had a lot of technology changes, a new policy manual, upgraded radios and communications system, and a new records management system.” He would want to focus his efforts on sharing more information and education to staff and the public -- striving to be proactive along with reactive. And, Miner said he’d like to focus on more training to prepare for incidents that might occur, such as active shooter and Internet-related crimes.

How would he improve the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department?

Answer: He would seek to use the records management system for all that it has to offer the department. And, he feels the Sheriff needs to attend emergency service meetings such as local fire department and ambulance department meetings in order to get feedback for improvements. Miner also feels that with multiple services like police, fire and ambulance, knowing the role of each department at the scene of an accident would be helpful to all involved.

How would he possibly change the organizational structure of the department?

Answer: There is no need for any change at this time. “I think we’re set. We have a good structure.” If he were to add a position, he would consider creating a crime prevention officer for the department. He’d like to see the department work with Facebook and the media to help them protect themselves with as much information as possible.

How does he feel about the current facilities?

Answer: “It is an aging facility, and it wasn’t built for the technology we have today.” With 26 beds in the jail, Miner said they operate at about 50 percent occupancy. He said that we really need to discuss how long we are going to stay in that facility and explore all options.

What are his political views?

Answer: “I don’t claim to be a Democrat, Republican or Independent.” He tries to listen to the candidates from various parties and filter out the fluff. He has voted for all three parties depending on each election and his candidate choices.

How accessible will he be as the Sheriff?

Answer: “As a public official, I would certainly be accessible.”

What will he consider as his measurable successes as Sheriff?

Answer: He would like to conduct more Sheriff’s academies like they did a couple years ago, because it created more public awareness for participating citizens. “It helped participants see what we do, why we do it, and how we do it.” He’d also like to see the department randomly call those they’ve assisted and ask for feedback on how they’ve handled situations.

How does he feel about allowing guns in schools to help protect faculty and students from potential threats?

Answer: “I certainly wouldn’t be against it if the school board and the community felt it was needed.” The issue, he felt, would be training and experience. “These circumstances in which you are caught off guard are very stressful.” Miner said that those individuals carrying a gun in the school to protect faculty and students may be the first target of a potential threat. They would definitely need law enforcement training or a military background. And, a gun doesn’t do much help if it is secured in a safe. With limited time to respond, the school-authorized individual would probably need to carry the gun on them. “Would this person be trained to handle the stress if something happened?”

Is there a drug problem in Fillmore County?

Answer: “Meth has made a comeback in this area. Heroin is hitting surrounding counties pretty hard. Not sure if it is a large scale problem in Fillmore County, yet.” Regarding drugs in schools, Miner said he is not aware of any specific drug problems. He would like to see the use of K-9 units in schools throughout the county.


Your comment submission is also an acknowledgement that this information may be reprinted in other formats such as the newspaper.


12:57:44, Jul 11th 2014

Voter says:
“I certainly wouldn’t be against it if the school board and the community felt it was needed.” The issue, he felt, would be training and experience. “These circumstances in which you are caught off guard are very stressful.” Miner said that those individuals carrying a gun in the school to protect faculty and students may be the first target of a potential threat. They would definitely need law enforcement training or a military background. And, a gun doesn’t do much help if it is secured in a safe. With limited time to respond, the school-authorized individual would probably need to carry the gun on them. “Would this person be trained to handle the stress if something happened?

You got my vote with that answer!


7:36:04, Jul 12th 2014

Not Me! says:
Sorry, but I he (Miner) wont' have my vote. I was undecided before this was publishes, to be honest. I don't know either man personally. But I did think Kasse edged out Miner. He acknowledged there was drugs in our area and in our schools...we don't want to admit it but it's true and part of the problem is turning the other way. It only grows. Heroin is an epidemic that has returned and Miner, for being on the force right now, is ignorant to think it isn't here. While I like that Miner is working right in the Sheriff's office right now and is familiar with the day to day, I didn't like his answer that he may be biased and he wouldn't really change anything. There should always be some change with new leadership, there is always improvements to be made. Not saying I wouldn't support either man if elected, they both seem to be good people from what I have read and/or heard and the support for both seems to be overwhelming from the good people in our county. I think Kasse edges out with more progressive leadership ideas, I think he sees that things need to 'with the times'. While Miner might have more PR skills in small town America, I don't see from what I read here that he understands the progression of small town America. Again, good luck to both!


4:23:54, Jul 13th 2014

Tom Kaase says:
Jason, I'd just like to thank you for taking the time to talk to Brian and I and allowing us to express our views, opinions, and visions. The conversation we had lasted over two hours, if anything, I wish the readers of the Fillmore Journal could have heard and critiqued the whole conversation. If your readers wish to have more information or clarification, I invited them to contact me by email (kaase@centurytel.net), phone 507-421-1290, or follow my run for Fillmore County Sheriff on facebook, kaase for sheriff! Thanks again.

Tom Kaase


11:51:41, Jul 13th 2014

Choice Is Clear says:
Was on the fence until now, Kaase is the man for the job. His answers were detailed, and has a vision for the department. Concern over Miner is not changing anything. There are drugs in the schools. Kids even know where to go to get meth/cocaine. To think there isn't drugs in the school is very ignorant. Why does the department not have a K-9, and just found out our county does NOT have 24 hour coverage. Any change in leadership should bring new ideas and make improvements. Officers in the agency would tell you, the ones not politically correct, and off the record of course, there are problems within, and would welcome some change.

Agree with Ostaranderresident, I read in paper Miner delinquent on taxes, and his business failed. If he can't run a small town gas station, how can he manage a budget with tax payer dollars and lead the department?

I don't agree with every answer the candidates gave, and hope they run a clean campaign, but I believe Kaase should be our next Sheriff.


12:13:31, Jul 14th 2014

not fair says:
@ostranderresident - I don't think it is really fair to attack Miner for trying to make a business work and then it became financially challenging. For God's sake, its Ostrander! I'd love to hear about how you personally invested your life's savings in making a business work in Ostrander. Please tell us your success story. We are all waiting to hear it so we can celebrate it at Uffda Fest in the Grand Parade!!!


12:30:53, Jul 14th 2014

Curious says:
Find it interesting Jensen is not supporting a candidate. The sheriff in Winona supported his chief deputy publicly. Why is Jensen not supporting Miner? Figured he would want to help out Miner, guessing behind the scene he is. Maybe closer to the election Jensen will come out publicly for Miner.


7:19:59, Jul 15th 2014

Wow! some people need to think things through before they speak or type .I am sure Miner will make some changes as he sees fit to, but clearly has a good working relationship with the department. and I am sure Miner knows there is a drug problem in the community. Kasse said himself that it was over a 2 hour interview, the writer sums it up in a few paragraphs, do you think maybe he is taken out of context or you are not getting the full story? It is ignorant that you think he does not recognize the drug problems in our community. To make drastic or to say you are going to make drastic changes to the sheriffs department is a slap in the face of the man who is retiring that has been devoted to our community for 30 plus years. To dig into personal lives really has nothing to do with how they will do things as a sheriff, everyone has said things and have done things in the past that they are not proud of. Don't blame the Miners for taking a chance on a small town business. I would rather have that then someone that runs off to Olmsted county. and if we are going to dig into pasts maybe we should dig into both pasts? Miner is a good family man raising 4 kids in the community, is involved in sport activities ,school activities and community activities. Having 4 kids being raised in the community of his own you would think he is going to do his best to guide us safely into the future.


10:33:25, Jul 15th 2014

justsayin says:
I think in the best interest for our county we need to let this election happen as it should without comments being posted regarding things people don't know anything about. This was the first article like this and I am sure there will be more between now and November. These two individuals should be able to have a fair and honest election without these types of comments. The only people it hurts in the long run is the citizens of the county. Thank you.


9:57:55, Jul 16th 2014

Kaase got my vote👍 says:
With this interview kaase got my vote! We need change in the county and he seems to be the guy to give it! He acknowledged the drug problems we have in the county rather then turned his head! He has also always been a part of the community even while working for rochester which shows his dedication to his community! However I think seeing a debate between the two candidates in a public setting would be helpful for the county to get their questions and concerns out there!!


4:13:24, Jul 16th 2014

Two dogs says:
Why would Mr. Kaase want to take a pay cut of $30,000 dollar a year plus to take this job? How would it affect his son who is employed by the sheriff's dept.? Would this be a conflict of interest? I don't know either candidate. Just some concerns I have as a concerned citizen and tax payer.


6:52:38, Jul 17th 2014

Kaase for Sheriff says:
First of all I think that both candidates have great ideas. But in the end, I think that Kaase is the man for the job. He sees things realistically. I think to say that you dont know of any specific drug problems in our schools is pretty crazy. We all know there are issues. I do however like that Miner wants more training on internet crimes as those are becoming more and more all the time. However, I just think overall Kaase is the kind of change this county needs. And in response to why would he take a pay cut...Maybe this is a dream that he is pursuing. Money isn't everything to some people. Sometimes dreams and goals take over in regards to money. I would probably take a pay cut too if I had an opportunity to be a sheriff in my lifetime. Maybe he doesn't need to worry about money. And in regards to his son being an officer, so what! We live in small town America. You're bound to have conflicts of interests all over the place. And really, it's not like they both don't have to be held accountable for what they do on their jobs. But great race so far and we will see what November brings!


3:14:00, Jul 18th 2014

SV citizen says:
I have concern that there would be a conflict of interest with Kaase being sheriff and his son being on the force. Would there be preferential treatment when opportunities to climb the ladder came up? I think that Mr. Miner has many relationships that he's worked on in Fillmore County, Mr. Kaase not so much, his time was spent in Olmsted County. I too question Mr. Kaase's willingness to walk away from his current salary and years of service so soon after his son was hired by Fillmore County, is he wanting to be able to protect his son? I don't know either candidate and have not made my decision, just throwing out some things that I think should be considered...and no, not everyone has to agree with me so hold your comments as to why I'm so wrong in my thinking.


11:28:08, Jul 18th 2014

Go kaase! says:
Tom I hope you get elected as sheriff! Although you have worked in rochester you still have an excellent relationship with the county from what I have noticed! You have always been around in the county such as being commissioner! I seen your article when announcing your candidacy and I think it's awesome that you want to come back to the county to finish out your career! I believe you will do great things if elected! I think people should know that if elected your son will not get promoted due to conflict of interest! Hope to see you around tom!


10:54:16, Oct 26th 2014

iKnoSEMn says:
Kaase's son isn't going to be working in Fillmore County-relax! His son has two departments trying to get him to sign on. Seems obvious to me that he is a talented kid that is well qualified to be a Police Officer.

Kaase has the experience Law Enforcement in Fillmore County and Rochester. He has successful Business and Farm experience. As a County Commissioner he has made decisions that affected the Sheriffs Dept.

While a failing gas business isn't something Miner wants to talk about, I have concerns that he would be incharge of a budget and question how he would manage it.

While Miner may be a decent guy, I think the Sheriff position is just over his head and skill set.

Kaase is the clear choice for Fillmore County.


12:23:06, Oct 28th 2014

Concerned Voter says:
Iknowsemn, you forgot to mention Tom Kasse's time on the Kingsland school Board? Yes, he was one of six members that ran the Kingsland school district into the ground with several poor choices, one after the other. (Not one time did he vote against the other 5 members) You take shots at Mr. Miner's failed gas station in Ostrander, at least Miner wasn't wasting tax payers money.


11:50:32, Oct 29th 2014

lets get this straight... says:
well concerned voter with your logic of thinking I would like to point this out... he couldn't run his own gas station so your going to give him the tax payers budget and say here lets see if you can fail at this also? That makes sense! Mr. Kaase was on school board yes, Mr. Kaase may have been part of the decisions made that "ran the school into the ground" however I don't believe it was ever ran into the ground due to the fact it's still standing and working efficiently and doing it's job as a school, but let me guess you were one of those people who read into the politics? Good for You! I would also like to point out to you that Mr. Kaase has a small business of his own and it is still up and running. He is also a county commissioner he deals with the budget already why wouldn't we want somebody who already knows how to go about handling it? Instead of looking into the politics people need to look into the facts before voting.


4:08:48, Oct 29th 2014

Wykoff Voter says:
Miner is a decent guy, but he doesn't have what it takes to be Sheriff. Can taxpayers trust him with their money when he can't handle his own money? To be Sheriff takes a talented individual to manage a huge budget, and support his deputies while trying to keep the public happy. Miner doesn't have the best people skills. Current Sheriff wanted to retire a couple of years ago ,and Miner wasn't his choice to replace him. Yes a number of deputies support Miner but that's because they want to keep the good ole boys system going and not be held accountable for their actions.


4:45:54, Oct 29th 2014

Huh!!! says:
Bashing Mr. Miner over a failed gas station / grocery business in the little town of Ostrander isn't fair. How many businesses have failed in Ostrander. Heck, even the bank closed shop. Wykoff voter you want to talk about the "good ole boys" club? How did Kasse son get hired as a Fillmore County Deputy in the first place? Was he the most qualified candidate? I think not. Might of helped that his Daddy and Mr. Jensen are buds. What's going to happen if Tom Kaase wins the election. Promote his own son or not? There is a big chance of a lawsuit coming for us tax payers. Something is fishy when Kaase is willing to take a $30,000 a year pay cut to be sheriff.


5:07:18, Oct 29th 2014

Wykoff Voter says:
Huh....Kaase's son was a jailer then a part time deputy. If Tom wins it won't matter. His son is taking a job in Duluth or Winona. Not true that Kasse and Jensen are buds, far from it. That gas station in Ostrander was a money pit. Everyone knew that. I'm more concerned about him not paying his taxes. So what if Kaase's taking a $30,000 hit in the pocketbook? If being Sheriff is something he's wanted to be and can afford $30,000 less a year then more power to him.


11:34:53, Nov 3rd 2014

Tom Kaase says:
First of all, thank you again to Editor Jason Sethre for allowing people to express themselves in this forum. Interesting to see that they continue on this article way back to July.

First addressing the Concerned Voter comments in regards to my time as a Kingsland School Board Member. Unfortunately you are misinformed on a couple of points. If you would care to check back in the records or minutes, there were times in which I cast a vote different from other school members, for and against. In regards to the status of the school upon the departure of myself, again you are misinformed. The state of the school was operating in the black, we had a new building project completed, and the tax dollars our citizens were paying were lower than surrounding school districts. It's unfortunate that in your attempt to lash out at me that it's also a slap in the face of School Board members Deb Dahl, Mitch Lentz, Mike Zimmer, Jane Baker, Bob Grabau and all the other hard working school employees and community volunteers who were devoted to the Kingsland School District.

Next addressing the comments from Huh!!! in regards to my son Kaine. Before getting hired by Fillmore County as a part-time employee he had applied on a previous occasion, and was not hired. Unfortunately, in my belief, he was probably passed over and not given an opportunity partly due to that he is my son and the fear that it may look like favoritism or preferential treatment. Qualified, Qualifications? He excelled in his law enforcement training at RCTC to the point that instructors that worked at both Rochester PD and Olmsted County Sheriff's Department, and other departments hoped that he would apply and someday work for their departments. When he became a Fillmore County Deputy, because of his hard work ethic and ability, he has earned the respect of numerous deputies and city officers. My son will be starting with the Duluth Police Department soon, which by the way has a very competitive hiring process and after screening hundreds, yes hundreds of applicants, he is one of the group of six to be hired first. As far as your comments and concerns about the law suit and the pay cut you believe I would be taking, again you’re unfortunately misinformed.


10:19:54, Dec 6th 2014

WoW! says:
Sadly The Only Ones That Are Misinformed About Kaase are The Citizens of Fillmore County. Four Years from now there will be a Different Outcome. Kudos to Miner for running a clean race When he could have Clearly Exposed Mr. Kaase for what and who he really is. Time will show this .


1:58:52, Dec 8th 2014

FountainFarmer says:
WoW! You're just commenting on an article that was posted back in July and a month after he was elected to be Sheriff? You must either have a serious axe to grind with Sheriff-elect Kaase or just feel like making more faceless gossip like others here have done. If people like you know stuff about other people when they're running for office, why don't you actually bring things public instead of just commenting on an article with just broad generalizations about someone.


5:54:41, Dec 8th 2014

WoW! says:
Fountainfarmer no serious Axe to grind and definitely not faceless gossip. People do know stuff about Mr Kaase and they also know how he is. As stated before time will show this. More should have done their homework. And all are entitled to an opinion regardless of the time frame.


12:43:11, Dec 9th 2014

FountainFarmer says:
Wow! Yes, people are entitled to their opinion anytime they feel free to express it but the question i have to ask you is: why comment so shortly after the election about things that people supposedly know, which by the way I, and most of those in Fillmore County for that matter, don't have have any clue as to what you're alluding to, when the average person tends to forget things that aren't necessarily important in their daily lives quite easily? Are you expecting the average voter to "hold a grudge" against Sheriff-elect Kasse until the next time he is up for re-election? Only people who have a serious axe to grind against someone will "hold a grudge" until the die they day. And, it's not like Sheriff-elect Kaase is the only public official that, according to you, has "skeletons in the closet." Have you lived your life in such a way that people wouldn't be able to dig stuff up and use it against you if you chose to run for public office?


8:43:29, Dec 20th 2014

Wow! says:
Fountainfarmer I am not trying to debate here just simply stating more homework should have been done. If I was able I would put on here what I know but of course I can't. But I did do my homework. And no I probably haven't lived my life as I or anyone should but that is why I and probably most didn't choose to be in the public eye and run for an office. Some have great skills and are able to convince and cover up . He did not get our vote nor will he ever. Again I think four years from now there will be a different outcome. Miner was the better fit in my opinion.

Perfect Glossy