Chief deputy will fill in for departing sheriffIn the end there was no surprise appointment. At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners, on a unanimous vote, appointed Dakota County Chief Deputy Dave Bellows sheriff, replacing Don Gudmundson, whose resignation is effective Sunday.
By: Jane Lightbourn, The Farmington Independent
In the end there was no surprise appointment.
At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners, on a unanimous vote, appointed Dakota County Chief Deputy Dave Bellows sheriff, replacing Don Gudmundson, whose resignation is effective Sunday. The board also officially accepted Gudmundson’s resignation.
Gudmundson announced last September he would not seek a fifth term as Dakota County Sheriff, choosing to retire at the end of 2010, but he changed his mind earlier this month and announced his plans to resign earlier.
The commission’s decision did not sit well with Bellows’ opponent in the November election. Apple Valley police sergeant Mitch Scott accused the county of stacking the deck against him with its appointment decision.
“This practice is usually done to assist the chief deputy or under sheriff with being elected the following term by allowng them to run as the incumbent,” Scott said.
Bellows has 30 years experience in law enforcement. He began as patrol officer in Lakeville in 1980, being promoted to sergeant and then lieutenant. He stayed with Lakeville for 19 years, then joined the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office. He has been chief deputy for 10 years.
As chief deputy, Bellows oversees a 265-bed jail, a budget of more than $18 million and a staff of nearly 200 employees.
Bellows has a bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Hamline University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., as well as the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar. He has been an adjunct professor at Metropolitan State University for its masters program in law enforcement and is currently a part-time instructor for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in the police personnel management program.
“I want to thank the board for its confidence in me,” Bellows told the commissioners. “I have been fortunate to work for an individual who is the best mentor in law enforcement in the state of Minnesota.”
Bellows said he was shocked by Gudmundson’s decision to retire.
“He (Gudmundson) is someone who has given everything he had to Dakota County,” said Bellows. “I wish him the best.”
Bellows said he is looking forward to continuing “to make Dakota County the premier place for law enforcement in the state.”
The commissioners had three options to consider in light of Gudmundson’s resignation, board chair Thomas Egan said.
“The first one is to leave the position open,” he said. “We are already short-staffed in the sheriff’s department. By allowing the position to remain open, we would be lacking a senior officer.”
The second option of holding a selection process would take substantial time, with the position not being filled until April or May.
The third option of appointing the chief deputy is the best one, said Egan.
There was no other discussion and no one in the audience made any comments.
Gudmundson was not present at Tuesday’s meeting. Backstrom read a letter from him to the commissioners. In the letter, Gudmundson thanked the citizens of the county for allowing him to serve them, his staff, other county staff, commissioners and current and past police chiefs in the county.