Douglas County Sheriff counts down days to retirement, reflects on career – Superior Telegram

SUPERIOR — On January 3, Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec, 57, will retire after 20 years as a Douglas County sheriff.

Dalbec is the longest-serving sheriff, along with Fred Johnson, who served from 1969 to 1988. In addition to serving in the U.S. Air Force, Minnesota Air National Guard, and Senior Police Department, he has a total of 37 years of service to his country and community. He will retire nine days after his 32-year career in law enforcement.

What is he remembered for? As his retirement neared, Dalbec said local residents began to thank him for being a good sheriff. In the meantime, many said they were grateful that he kept the office and his men out of the media spotlight.

“My philosophy from day one has always been to address issues when they arise, especially if they are more serious or potential newsworthy issues,” said Dalbeck. “Don’t ignore it, don’t try to sweep it under the rug, don’t try to pretend it doesn’t exist. Just deal with it… face it head-on and deal with the problem.” Please give me.”

This includes being proactive by providing the training and tools needed to get the job done.

After defeating five other Democratic opponents in the 2002 primary, Dalbec stepped into a fluid office. The government center was in the final stages of completion. Dalbeck said he was made sheriff in January 2003, after which he moved the sheriff’s office to a new building in July and was transferred to prison three months later.

Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbeck, The Kitchen Restaurant owners Ed Flood, Reese Lockerby, and owner Teresa Flood chatting behind the counter, from left to right on Thursday, December 8. Server Amanda Stoburn is holding back her laughter. We provided food for all eight of the restaurant’s annual lunchtime charity drives through the end of the year.

Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

Dalbec is also responsible for staffing the new prison, which has nearly doubled the size of the department. Over the years, prison staffing remained his greatest challenge.

“I’ve been a sheriff for 20 years, and I think I’ve had two full-staffed prisons for at least a month in 20 years. We always, always hire. Always short-handed,” said Dalbeck.

Dalbecck has ushered the department into the digital age.

“When I got into the police, we still typewritten reports on paper and had arrest records and traffic citation records on the desk…all arrest records were all It was handwritten,” said Dalbecque. .

The biggest change in the last 20 years has been the shift from analog to digital technology, and now every squad vehicle has a computer.


Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbeck speaks in his office on Friday, December 16, about his 20-year stint as a sheriff.

Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

The move should have been natural for Dalbeck, who was attending Northwood Institute of Technology, then WITC, for computer programming after military service. He joined the police department six months after he did, so he never used his associate’s degree.

As Sheriff, he secured federal funds from then-Rep. Dave Obey to finance the purchase of the Department’s first laptop computer. He has also raised approximately $1.3 million in federal funding to upgrade the radio systems in offices separate from his WISCOM system used by the Senior Police Department and Douglas County Emergency Management.

“One of the biggest reasons we wanted to keep the system was because we had control over it,” says Dalbec.

When asked if there had been a standout moment in his career, Dalbeck chose a chance encounter at a bar. They started talking and Dalbec was able to place him.

As a senior police officer, Dalbeck was summoned to a man’s home several times a week for incidents involving a then-teenager man and his mother. Each time, Dalbec helped them find a way to spend the rest of the day.

Fast forward to the bar. The man shook Darbec’s hand, and he thanked him for treating him fairly and for taking the time to listen to him. He bought the sheriff a beer and they rang the bottle. He told Dalbec about his life, his job and his new apartment. The man died in an industrial accident less than a year later, but Dalbeck said the meeting had an impact.

“It was nice to hear from him. He took the time and effort to come and talk to me and thank me,” the sheriff said.

Most of the one-on-one contact with the public in Dalbec is not very positive. Since taking office, sheriffs have been responsible for delivering death notices.

“When I became sheriff, I started doing it. Most of the time it’s when someone died. Like in a car accident, it’s usually 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, At 4…I don’t want to burden my agent with having to deal with it,” Dalbecq said.

Dalbec could have retired instead of running for president in 2018, but he wasn’t ready to step down at the time.

Now it’s time.

“I can feel it,” he said.

Mr. Dalbeck is stepping down, but Deputy Chief of Staff Jerry Moe will remain in office. When Mo began working for law enforcement, he was an afternoon patrol sergeant in Dalbec. Incoming Sheriff Matt Izzard will be Mo’s seventh sheriff.

Dalbec said he would miss the friendships in the office more than anything else.


Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbeck keeps his uncle Donald, a former police officer, used during an interview on Friday, Dec. 16, in his office. Dalbec’s ties to the community run deep. His mother grew up in Foxborough. His father was born in the town of Blueberry. Dalbec grew up in the Superior Billings Park neighborhood.

Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

“Come here, stop by and chat with Jerry or anyone out there…just sit back and catch up on the latest and greatest,” the sheriff said.

He checks in to see how Moe’s son is adjusting to college life, or stops by Detective Jim Madden’s office to find out what the Milwaukee Brewers are doing to make themselves a winning team. I miss discussing what I need to do.

Everyday interactions and pranks are overlooked. But Dalbecch said he is looking forward to his retirement, and his plans include spending the summer on a flatboat at Wascott with his wife Leta. The rest is a blank canvas.

“If I decide to do something, it will be on my terms,” ​​Dalbeck said.

He deliberately chose not to complete the state-mandated 24-hour mandatory training this year. This means that your law enforcement credentials will be revoked.

The Sheriff clears his office bookshelf and shares his memories on his Facebook page as his retirement approaches. I was asked what I wanted to say to the residents.

“Maybe, thank you very much. Thank you for letting me be your sheriff for 20 years,” said Dalbec. They will be at ease when Matt takes over.”


Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec works a two-hour shift in the Superior kitchen during the restaurant’s annual lunchtime charity drive on Thursday, December 8.

Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

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Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec talks about his law enforcement career in his office on Friday, Dec. 16. Dalbec says he will retire on January 3rd.

Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

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Douglas County Sheriff-Elect Matt Izzard (left) and Sheriff Tom Dalbec (center) work behind the counter at The Kitchen restaurant on Thursday, December 8.

Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram

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