Isanti County Sheriff Russ Monson announces retirement

Chief Deputy Guenther recommended to fill remainder of Monson’s term

Starting in May, a new sheriff will be in charge of the Isanti County Sheriff’s Department.

Isanti County Sheriff Russ Monson announced his retirement during the Isanti County Board meeting Feb. 6, effective April 30.

Sheriff Russ Monson
Sheriff Russ Monson

“It’s my time to go,” he said. “After 28 years of law enforcement, I think it’s time for me to go.”

Commissioner George Larson said he accepted the retirement with regrets, and the board unanimously accepted the retirement.

“Thank you, and we appreciate the great job you’ve done for us,” Commissioner Susan Morris said. “I know you’re leaving your department in very good hands. We really appreciate your service to Isanti County and to law enforcement.”

Monson said it’s been a “wonderful 28 years.” He thanked commissioners for appointing him sheriff in 2009 and for their support of the sheriff’s office.

“Good luck in your future endeavors,” Larson said.

Monson recommended the board appoint Chief Deputy Bill Guenther to fill out the remainder of Monson’s term, which ends in 2014.

“Bill’s been my right-hand man for four years,” Monson said. “He’s a tremendous asset to the department. He’s well-respected by me, by everybody in the office, and it would be a good, smooth transition. He knows the job. We’ve worked side-by-side for four years, and quite frankly, this job would have been something else if I hadn’t had Bill Guenther at my side. I appreciate everything Bill has done for me and for the sheriff’s office, and hopefully the board will appoint him as the next sheriff of Isanti County.”

The commissioners will appoint a sheriff at a future county board meeting. Isanti County Attorney Jeff Edblad said one day’s notice is required by state statute before the board can make a new appointment.

The next Isanti County sheriff’s election will be in November 2014.

East Central Drug and Violent Offenders Task Force 2012 report

It’s been a year since Chisago, Isanti and Pine counties joined efforts in narcotics enforcement and created the East Central Drug and Violent Offenders Task Force.

During the Feb. 6 county board meeting, commander of the task force Justin Wood presented a report of the task force’s activity throughout 2012.

Throughout the year, task force agents were involved in over 250 investigations. They executed 37 search warrants, leading to the arrest of 116 individuals, Wood said.

During these investigations, agents recovered approximately two pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of over $90,000.

Agents seized over 225 pounds of processed marijuana, a street value of $675,000, and also seized 1,200 locally grown marijuana plants.

Other seizures included 24 pounds of khat, two-and-a-half ounces of cocaine and over 560 illegally possessed prescription pills, Wood said.

The East Central Drug and Violent Offenders Task Force seized for forfeiture 24 guns, five vehicles, two properties and over $81,800. The task force was also utilized in multiple undercover operations, including a murder-for-hire.

Wood said the agency is funded through the Office of Justice Programs, which is a division of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

The task force received a grant for 2013, and Wood said he’ll re-apply for 2014 as well.

“It’s hard to summarize the work that these guys have done over the past year, but it’s been an absolute herculean effort from my observations as to the work that these guys have done in this area to address drugs and violent crime,” Edblad said. “It’s been an absolute phenomenal, phenomenal successful effort.”

New cameras purchased for courtrooms

The board approved Monson’s request to purchase cameras for courtrooms to improve security.

Commissioners accepted a quote of $11,306 from Reliance Telephone, Inc., which will replace the existing box camera behind the judge’s bench with a new dome camera in each of the three courtrooms.

They will also install an additional dome camera in the opposite corner of the courtroom facing the judge’s bench in two of the courtrooms, and install a microphone in each courtroom.