The Steele County Sheriff’s Office is always willing to offer assistance to neighboring agencies when they are in need, knowing that the same efforts would be offered to our agency should a major emergency situation come our way.
We have also partnered with MN Dept. of Public Safety, by encouraging our deputies to assist in their Toward Zero Deaths Program. This program focuses extra patrol on such subjects as seat belt use, child restraint seats, alcohol/drug impairment and speed. The over-time hours that our employees put in are then reimbursed by the MN Dept. of Public Safety.
Currently we have licensed deputies and/or a Special Deputy providing court security, depending on the court calendar.
We also provide “contract hours” to the cities of Ellendale and Medford. This would consist of a certain number of hours our deputies spend patrolling in these communities. We are then reimbursed for those hours by the two cities.
Although the City of Blooming Prairie has their own Police Department, our deputies assist them whenever necessary.
Another major partnership is the security we provide during the Steele County Free Fair. We set up an office on the fairgrounds that is manned from mid-morning until 1:00 a.m. every day of the fair.
Currently there are 22 Special Deputies working in Steele County. In 2014, the Special Deputies provided more than 2,700 hours of service and security for various activities in Steele County.
Types of Activities they provide security for include: Wedding Dances, Hotel Security, Fund Raisers, Sporting Events, Street Dances, Auctions and City Celebrations.
The Special Deputies assist the Sheriff’s Office in providing security at accident or crime scenes until the investigations are complete. They also provide assistance guarding and transporting prisoners when needed. They also assist in providing Bailiff and Jury Attendant services at the Court House.
Their monthly meetings provide time for interaction and updating of information plus the necessary training that is required annually for the members to continue working.
All the Specials are expected to work at least two civic functions in an unpaid capacity.
Many of the Special Deputies go on to become licensed officers. The position is frequently used as a training period for students going to or just graduating from Law Enforcement School. This job provides helpful experience when trying to start their careers in law enforcement.
The Special Deputies were organized in the late forties to service the many dance halls in the county. They worked at the Monterey Ballroom, Zeiner’s Ballroom in Bixby, George’s Supper Club in Medford and Kearney’s Night Club in Ellendale. Some of the early deputies were Myron Pirkl, Stan Wodarczak, Gordy Mollenhauer, Lawrence Christey, Bill Abraham, Kenny Hunt and Al Steinbauer to name a few.
They were originally organized under the direction of Sheriff E.Ted Helgeson and then Sheriff Don Christianson. As the dance halls closed, community centers and private clubs began to fill in the void. The Special Deputies started working at places like the VFW, Eagles, Elks, K of C Halls of Owatonna and Medford and the Servicemen’s Club in Blooming Prairie. Street dances in many communities request the Specials services. In the last fifteen years, a number of charity organizations have chosen to use the Special Deputies to provide security at their events.
In the mid-fifties, Jim Kidd then a vice-president at Federated Insurance Company and Ed Holmen with the Owatonna Canning Company with the help of friends and fellow workers organized a group of citizens known as the Civil Defense. Their mission was to provide assistance of national security to the local area residents in case of any type of emergency. They learned the identification of many airplanes in case of a possible invasion. Most emergencies were weather related. This is how the Weather Watch and Sky Warn originated. Another aspect of the local Civil Defense unit was to provide for civic activities such as intersection security at parades and fairgrounds patrol during the county fair.
Around 2005, the Civil Defense and the Special Deputies merged into one organization and are currently providing the same original services to the county.
You can contact the Steele County Sheriff's Office with any questions – 507-444-3800.
The Steele County Sheriff's Mounted Posse and Auxiliary was organized to assist the County Sheriff and the communities they serve by providing additional patrol and mobility in areas of limited access. They represent the Steele County Sheriff’s Office in many of Minnesota’s parades and local celebrations, provide security for various events, along with assistance for search and rescue situations. There are currently 25 active members with five honorary members.
The members are all volunteers. They own and care for their horses, purchase and maintain their own equipment, and provide their own transportation to all events.
They have been trained in CPR, Rescue First Aid, Use of Force, and Search and Rescue techniques. The public sees us during patrol duties and at parades, but don't see the countless hours spent in training.
Training and experience are important for their equine partners as well. They participate in Sensory Training Exercises where the horses are introduced to the unfamiliar obstacles and challenges that are part of the "Posse Experience". Being able to stand firm in the noise and commotion of a crowd or carefully moving one step sideways to avoid a baby stroller is vital. Their horses have to do it all.
This nonprofit organization maintains a sense of civic responsibility, through wagon train rides, trail rides, and other sponsored functions which raise money to assist the Sheriff’s Youth Ranch, Scholarship Funds and countless other charities.
Even in today’s high tech, fast paced society, the Sheriff's Mounted Posse has demonstrated the uncompromised utility of the horse.
Joe Schwering is the commander and you can reach him at 507-456-1559.
Currently this group is made up of retired licensed law enforcement officers. We have seven individuals that work for us in this capacity. The Transport Unit provides a safe and secure transport for inmates whether they are going to our local courthouse, another detention facility, medical appointments, etc.
The Sheriff’s Office has two snowmobiles that are used to patrol the Steele County snowmobile trails. Our regular licensed deputies take on this responsibility.
Our water patrol personnel patrol Beaver Lake on a regular basis. They not only check for action violations but also ensure that boats are equipped with the necessary flotation devices, licenses, etc. They also patrol the beach and park area around Beaver Lake. The Water Patrol personnel also participate in the annual Safety Camp, providing boating and water safety tips.