By Rachel Kytonen
An attorney with over 15 years of experience has been appointed the new Chief Deputy of the Isanti County Attorney’s Office.
Tom Wedes was appointed to the position by Isanti County Attorney Jeff Edblad about three weeks ago. Former chief deputy Amy-Reed Hall resigned, and is now working for a neighboring county.
“As my chief deputy, you want someone in the position that you fully trust based on their knowledge, integrity and legal ability,” Edblad said. “I trust Tom 100 percent to step into the responsibility of the county attorney in my absence. He has my complete trust to act and speak on behalf of the county attorney’s office.”
Wedes first joined the Isanti County Attorney’s office part-time in the summer of 1999 working in child support, and remained in that position until February 2000. He rejoined the office full-time from October 2001 until January 2006. From January 2006 until September 2007 he worked for the Chisago County Attorney’s office, and rejoined the Isanti County Attorney’s Office after that time.
“I am honored to serve the county attorney’s office, Jeff, and the citizens of Isanti County in this position,” Wedes said. “My predecessors have paved a way on how to do things, and I hope to do the best I can in this position. I hope I can fulfill this position and serve the citizens of Isanti County the best way I know how, and that’s with hard work and dedication.”
Wedes went to Cornell College, and law school in Michigan, and has been a practicing attorney since 1995.
“I really made the decision to become an attorney when I was in college,” Wedes said. “I enjoyed political science, and was fascinated by how laws were made, how they were created and enforced, and how government works. It seemed like a natural path to become an attorney.”
Edblad said Wedes will be fully involved with all decisions of the county attorney’s office.
“From an administrative standpoint, I look at Tom as a full practice partner in law,” Edblad said. “He will be involved in all budget decisions, personnel decisions, and will be involved in meetings with the assistant county attorneys to distribute criminal case loads based on experience and areas of interest.”
As chief deputy, Wedes will serve as the legal council to the county’s zoning office, planning commission, board of adjustment, and also be a lead prosecutor for all controlled substance offenses, as well as maintain his civil and administrative responsibilities.
Edblad explained both he and Wedes will continue to carry a full criminal case load, and continue to work in the “trenches” prosecuting cases.
When fully-staffed, the county attorney’s office has seven full-time attorneys, with several of them specializing in areas of expertise such as domestic assault, property crimes and sexual assault.
Even though caseloads continue to increase, the county attorney’s office hasn’t added a new position in seven years.
Edblad noted from May 1, 2010 to May 1, 2011, the county attorney’s office received 97 new felony controlled substance cases; 64 new felony criminal sexual conduct or assault cases; 46 new felony domestic assault cases; 61 new felony burglary, theft or damage to property cases and over 60 repeat DWI cases, criminal vehicular operation or failure to register as a predatory offender type cases. He also noted the serious felony and controlled substance cases have also increased.
Edblad said in his 16 1/2 years as county attorney, he has only had five chief deputies, and noted they all continue to work in the public sector.
Wedes said he is looking forward to his new position as chief deputy.
“I enjoy working with my staff and colleagues, and the challenges each day provides,” Wedes said. “Each file and case is different and unique. I also enjoy working with our local law enforcement. It’s really a team atmosphere in Isanti County.”
Edblad said even when Wedes left the county attorney’s office to practice elsewhere, they always kept in communication.
“I’ve know Tom since 1999 and watched his progression throughout his career,” Edblad said. “I watched someone interested in the field work part-time three days a week, while also working a full-time night job. I know Tom has a deep desire to see justice done, and he has an incredible work ethic. I’ve seen how he’s grown and matured as a prosecutor. I have complete confidence that I’ve made the right decision in appointing Tom as my chief deputy county attorney.”