'Hutch' focused on assuming role as Hennepin County sheriff

Dave Hutchinson is setting up his team as Stanek weighs recount

Sloane Martin
November 14, 2018 - 8:23 am

Photo courtesy of David Hutchinson for Hennepin County Sheriff

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Hennepin County sheriff-elect Dave Hutchinson is stepping into his new role.

Current Sheriff Rich Stanek has seven days to pay $95,000 for a recount after the canvassing board declared Hutchinson the winner Tuesday.

The Metro Transit Police Sergeant told Dave Lee on the WCCO Morning News Wednesday that Stanek reached out by email Tuesday but they haven't communicated yet.

"I can't lose my focus because this is a big job ahead of me," he said. "1.4 million people's safety and security is going to be in my hands in a few weeks. That's what I'm worried about."

The political newcomer says a law firm has reached out "if it gets to that," but he's moving forward.

"My attention now is just on the sheriff's office and how we can get back to serving the folks of Hennepin County. All this other stuff we're going to let the other staff deal with. We have a long road ahead of us but we're excited and ready to rock."

He says one of his top priorities is "reevaluating" how the department deals with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"That gets people a little nervous," he said, "but it's just kinda the fact that the sheriff's office needs to be separated from ICE. They have their job. We have our job. We're not going to do their job necessarily, just like they don't do our job. We're going to help make sure immigrants -- of all types -- are comfortable coming to the police. That's our job: to make people feel safe regardless of who they are." 

Other major priorities include handling mental health crises and stemming the opioid epidemic.

"The heroin epidemic is really touching our communities and especially our native communities," he said. "When you talk about the wall there, the (Hiawatha) encampment, those people are suffering and our job is to help those people, not just jail them or forget about them."

Hutchinson said proud of the staff he's assembling.

"We have some heavy-hitters," he said. "Some ex-chiefs of (police) from some cities in Hennepin County and a couple of the biggest and the brightest names in local politics."

Hutchinson thanked the 100 or so volunteers who helped lift him to victory despite a significant disadvantage in campaign cash.