election

Sheriff candidates answer our questions

Strande and Hoefert face each other in primary June 7

Posted

On June 7, registered voters in Kingsbury County will have the opportunity to cast their ballot in South Dakota’s primary. On the ballot for the Republican primary are United States Senator, United States Representative, Governor, State Senator District 8, State Representative District 8, sheriff and Constitutional Amendment C. All other parties will vote on a Nonpolitical Primary Election Ballot that includes just the Constitutional Amendment C.

Running for sheriff in the Republican primary are incumbent Sheriff Steven Strande and his challenger, Deputy Sheriff Wade Hoefert. Both individuals are currently employed in the Kingsbury County Sheriff’s Department.

The winner in the primary for sheriff will then face another opponent, also from the County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Sheriff Michael Jenkins, who is running as an Independent in the General Election. That will be held Nov. 8, 2022.

The two candidates running for sheriff in the primary were given a list of questions. The following are their responses. Note: If editing was done, it was done for spelling, punctuation, and readability only.

SHARE A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF

Strande: I was born in Huron and lived on the family homestead north of Lake Preston until moving into Lake Preston when I started part-time as a police officer. In July 1987, I was appointed as police chief and continued until 2006 when I became a deputy for the former Sheriff Kevin Scotting. In 2018, I was elected sheriff. I have been married for 35 years this year to my wife, Shelley. We have four children and two grandchildren due this summer.

Hoefert: We both fell in love with the people, the communities and the way of life here 21 years ago. Amy and I decided to move to De Smet to raise our family. I have been married to Amy Hoefert for the past 28 years. Together we raised two wonderful sons: Derek Hoefert who is a Brookings PD officer and Jared Hoefert who works as an agronomist with Agtegra in Yale. I have also recently become a grandpa to a cute boy named Huxton Hoefert (Jared’s son). I have served in the South Dakota Army National Guard. I have served on the following boards: American Lutheran Church (council president -4 years) (trustee – 6 years); De Smet Rescue board of directors and as an EMT; President of Prairie Lakes Pheasant Club; Avera De Smet Memorial Hospital Foundation Board President. I was selected to be the 2017 American Legion Officer of the Year for Post #138 in De Smet, for Kingsbury County and for the State of South Dakota.

WHY WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE KINGSBURY COUNTY’S NEXT SHERIFF?

Strande: I feel I have done a good job as sheriff, as I treat people with respect. I work dependably with people that I meet, the best I can. I go above and beyond to help.

Hoefert: With my 21 years of experience as a deputy here in Kingsbury County, I have gained the experience and knowledge it takes to be the sheriff of Kingsbury County. My goal is to create change in the sheriff's office for this county in a positive way. I appreciate all the knowledge I have gained from listening and observing my former sheriffs, Charles Smith and Kevin Scotting. They have taught me more about the integrity and dedication it takes to be the sheriff of Kingsbury County. A sheriff is someone that is to be well rounded and pro-active. Someone that can see both sides of a problem and make a decision that is fair yet upholding to the laws all while keeping the public safe. I want to create change to the sheriff’s office in a positive way that will make the residents proud of their sheriff’s office and feel safe in their communities.

WHAT FORMAL TRAINING DO YOU HAVE IN LAW ENFORCEMENT?

Strande: I attended and graduated from SD Law Enforcement Training in Pierre. I also have on the job training and multiple classes and training to keep up with the required bi-annual 20 continuing education hours. Training includes, but not limited to, DUI recognition, mental health, domestic abuse, firearm, radar and taser.

Hoefert: I have been a certified law enforcement officer for the past 25 years and an adjunct instructor at the Law Enforcement Academy. I am an instructor for Use of Force and Civil Liability. I am also a certified EMT in the state of South Dakota.

IN YOUR WORDS, WHAT DOES
A SHERIFF DO?

Strande: A sheriff maintains law and order in the county alongside the deputies. We serve warrants and issue citations when needed. The office also investigates crimes, accidents and unattended deaths. We also work with surrounding counties as needed to provide and receive mutual aid.

Hoefert: The number one priority of the sheriff is to make sure that their office and deputies are always protecting and serving the citizens of Kingsbury County. The sheriff is also the person that keeps their office running financially secure with the annual budget. A person that works to find ways to save taxpayers money through grants. A person that secures the courtroom and protects the citizens inside during court. A person that serves civil papers. The sheriff is a person that is willing to answer his deputies’ questions, while leading them in dangerous situations that require standing next to their deputies when things get tough. The sheriff is a person who makes sure their deputies have all the tools and training to be able to do their jobs correctly.

OUTLINE YOUR GOALS FOR
THE ROLE OF SHERIFF AND
WHY YOU ARE RUNNING.

Strande: I want to maintain the office in a way that people are not afraid to come forward with issues they need help with.

Hoefert: There are many changes I would like to make to the sheriff’s office. We have a talented group of deputies that are hardworking and dedicated to this county. I would like to provide them with the training they need to be better at their jobs. We need to update technology and equipment which I will look at grants to help cover the costs. School safety is very important to me. I would like to work with the schools and try to provide a county-wide school resource deputy to help provide a safer school environment for our children. There is also a possibility of economic growth in our county. I want to be more proactive in meeting the needs of the county during this growth. I also want to limit the liability risks through updating the sheriff’s office policies and procedures.

WHAT ARE THE MOST USEFUL APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY IN A LAW ENFORCEMENT ROLE? EXPLAIN.

Strande: Advancements in DNA and recent use of genealogy - these advancements help in identifying suspects.

Hoefert: Technology has become a very vital part of law enforcement. Laptops mounted in the vehicles will help the deputies to respond faster to calls and give them the tools they need to get the information required to manage these calls. This will also help the deputies to become aware of the criminals that could be driving through or entering Kingsbury County. It will also allow us to track cases in surrounding counties such as burglaries, etc. so the sheriff’s office can be more proactive in preventing these in Kingsbury County. The deputies can be more productive by spending more time in their patrol cars doing their jobs. That will also create a more useful way to track the deputies' time being spent in the contract towns which will mean a cost-effective and more efficient deputy.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE
CHALLENGES THE SHERIFF’S
OFFICE FACES IN OUR COUNTY?

Strande: Lack of help with mental health, drug and alcohol committals.

Hoefert: Communication has become a big challenge in the sheriff’s office. I want to implement a team approach between the sheriff and the deputies. Everyone should be aware of current or pending cases that are open in the office so that we can all work together to better serve the people of Kingsbury County. Improper equipment and maintenance issues have been a challenge for the deputies to be able to do their jobs efficiently. Improvement of technology so we are not missing critical information that can assist the sheriff’s office in doing their jobs more productively.

WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED IN THE PAST, AND HOW HAVE YOU DEALT WITH THEM?

Strande: Challenges during COVID - law enforcement coverage due to illness, inmate placement in jails, assistance with ambulance calls due to staffing. We had personal protective equipment accessible to everyone to use - we could not shut down like other businesses.

COVID also stalled the DARE program I promised to implement - however, I was finally able to send a deputy to training classes and implement DARE in 2021.

Hoefert: All the challenges that I have had in the past, I have dealt with in a calm and cool mentality. I have worked in leadership roles on a plane crash, fatalities on the road, and I have handled them by using my experience, training and remembering to adapt to the situation and overcome the problem.

HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHICH PRIORITIES ARE MOST IMPORTANT
IN AN EMERGENCY?

Strande: The people determine priority - they are all the main priority, the victims, first responders - every situation is different, as long as you keep a level head. You cannot help anyone else if you yourself are panicked.

Hoefert: The priority of any emergency is life, then property. So, upon entering a scene, you need to first assess what is going on, what needs to be accomplished and then find the assets to assist in achieving that goal. I also want my deputies to have the confidence and training to be able to manage any situation.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS COMMUNITY?

Strande: The willingness of the people in Kingsbury County to help each other when in need is my favorite thing.

Hoefert: All the towns in this county are full of people that I have been grateful to know and assist at various times in their lives. I love how this whole county comes together to assist their fellow man when times are tough or when that person falls on troubled times. Every community in this county is filled with great people that have made my career a success. I am grateful to everyone that has allowed me the opportunity to be their deputy, and now hopefully, they will see fit to allow me to be their sheriff.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT JOB?

Strande: The willingness of the people in Kingsbury County to help each other when in need is my favorite thing.

Hoefert: I have worked in public safety all my adult life, and I enjoy helping people. I like the challenge of working on investigations. I get satisfaction when I can solve a case and help the victims.

WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT JOB?

Strande: The least favorite thing about my job is that sometimes we have to help people deal with things on the worst day they could be having - such as death notifications. As a person who was born and raised in Kingsbury County, chances are I have known these people their entire lives.

Hoefert: The least favorite part of the job is the time I have had to miss being away from my family. Both my family and I understand that that is the sacrifice that comes with this career.

WHY SHOULD VOTERS CAST
THEIR BALLOT FOR YOU?

Strande: I will treat people with respect and with integrity.

Hoefert: I have proven leadership skills that will help me to make the changes needed in the sheriff’s office. I want to work with local cities and schools to help meet their needs and improve communication. My training and experience have given me the knowledge to make the changes needed to ensure that this sheriff’s office has the tools needed to do the job, while ensuring the public’s safety, decreasing liability, increasing productivity, decreasing improper spending. If the voters allow me the opportunity to be their sheriff, I want to have the opportunity to change things in this office in a more positive way. I know that I can be a good sheriff for this county. I want to improve the communications between the sheriff and the deputies and the communities. I want to increase the team effort that we can have with the deputies. I want to work hard to make sure people feel safe in the communities and the county.

STATEMENT OR OTHER ITEM
WORTHY OF SHARING

Strande: As Kingsbury County Sheriff, my focus is to provide a safe and respectful environment for ALL the citizens of Kingsbury County as well as maintaining a levelheaded manner in their time of need, if that need were to arise.

Hoefert: The office of the sheriff is so much more than just one person or being there 24/7. This is a position that needs a person that can look into the future and plan for problems before they happen and hope that they never do happen. I have that ability to look long term at what goals we can achieve and ways that we can achieve them to make this a better place to live.

PRIMARY VOTING

If you are not a registered voter, you have until May 23 to register and vote in the primary.

Early voting in Kingsbury County can be done at the Auditor’s Office in the Courthouse Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. until June 6. Absentee ballots can be picked up there as well but must be received by 5 p.m. June 6 whether it is mailed or in person. Remember, if mailing it must be there by June 6, so please mail early.

The primary will be held Tues., June 7, and voting will be done in each precinct from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Oct. 24, 2022, is the voter registration deadline for the general election that will be held Nov. 8, 2022. Absentee voting is held Sept. 23 to Nov. 7 from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. at the auditor’s office in the courthouse.

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