New Olmsted County sheriff takes reins

By Janice Gregorson

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

"I am now retired," Steve Borchardt said Friday, yanking the reddish striped tie from his white shirt.

Just seconds before, Olmsted District Judge Debra Jacobson officially swore in Steve VonWald as the county’s new sheriff.

Friends, family members, co-workers, judges, county commissioners, law-enforcement officers and state lawmakers packed the board room at the Olmsted County government center Friday afternoon for the joint event swearing in a new sheriff and honoring one who has served the county for the past 17 years.


Tim O’Malley, superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, had nothing but praise for both men. O’Malley, a former Rochester police officer, remembers working with both when they were all new to law enforcement years ago. He told those present that while Olmsted County is losing one of the best in Borchardt, it is gaining another leader in VonWald.

"VonWald is about taking action," he told those present.

Chuck VonWald grinned as his son was sworn in. Then the former longtime Olmsted County sheriff stood and pinned on his son’s new badge. The elder VonWald was sheriff in Olmsted County for 20 years.

Former and current sheriffs from other counties turned out for the swearing in and retirement gathering. Several retired deputies also turned out for the occasion, along with community leaders.

Many spoke, giving tribute to the outgoing sheriff, who was credited with tirelessly working on behalf of the county locally and at the state level. Two lawmakers said state funding for Minnesota’s first regional public safety training center is a direct result of years of work by Borchardt.

Sen. Ann Lynch said the training center will be remembered as Borchardt’s legacy.

"This is hard," Borchardt said at the end of the program. "I am the most blessed person in this room. This community has been outstanding to me."

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