Wright County Sheriff Joe Hagerty, elected to the position in 201o after more than two decades on the Wright County staff, said he’ll step aside after this year and not seek re-election.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Hagerty told ECM Newspapers of his time with the sheriff’s department. I’m 56 now and have been doing this work for 33 of them. I figured I could get out now while I still enjoy it.”
Hagerty is a lifelong St. Michael resident – having served on St. Michael City Council during his time as a captain in the sheriff’s department. He stepped down from that political position when he decided to put his hat in the ring for the sheriff’s job.
He was elected in a landslide, and ran unopposed in 2012 and 2014. He faced some competition in the 2016 election, but was handily re-elected for his fourth term.
The department has faced scrutiny. Hagerty has seen his department investigated for workplace harrasment violations, and the sheriff has had his own confrontations with past members of the county commission. But the department under Hagerty’s watch has had more than high marks for its customer service, information availability and handling of high-profile cases, including the Jacob Wetterling case, one of the most media scrutinized cases in Minnesota history.
Despite its unprecedented growth over the past two decades, the Sheriff’s Department has maintained cooperative agreements to provide patrols for the majority of Wright County communities, including STMA, Otsego and Hanover. That corridor, which is Hagerty’s backyard, has been a key safety area, the sheriff has said.
“There was a feeling that when the mall [Albertville Premium Outlets] opened up it would be a gateway for a lot of criminal activity. The security out there has done a solid job and we’ve made it a point to keep that relationship with the mall to keep it safe. There’s been shoplifting and some other petty crimes, but it hasn’t been what people feared it might be. And now with more growth coming out there, I’m sure those concerns will come again. But we’ve got a pretty safe community here, and the relationships we have with our cities have been great,” Hagerty said.
Hagerty will wrap up his work in early January of next year. He said he’ll watch the results of the election and work closely with whomever the new sheriff is. The new sheriff would be just the sixth in the past six decades, making the WCSO one of the most stable in the country.
“We’ve been fortunate to have some pretty great leadership,” Hagerty said.