First, let my begin by thanking you for taking the time to visit my site. My name is Chris Thompson. I was born and raised by my parents, Charlie and Debbie Thompson, in Walker, and I have always called Cass County home. I am a 1994 graduate of Walker-Hackensack-Akeley where I played football and wrestled. My parents instilled a very strong work ethic in both my brother Brad and me. I spent my early years working at resorts, restaurants and Tianna Country Club as well as for my family's numerous businesses. Growing up in the family business taught me the importance of a dollar and how to stretch it for all it’s worth. In 1996 I began a 7-Year tour of Duty with the Walker Ambulance Services. That year was also the year I met my future wife, Katie, who has stood by my side throughout the good times and bad, which is a tall order when it comes to being married to a law enforcement officer. My leadership qualities were notices while with the Walker Ambulance and at the age of 22 I was elected as their President of the Ambulance Board.
In the summer of 1997 former Sheriff Jim Dowson walked into our family's rental store and I struck up a conversation with him about what it takes to be a Deputy Sheriff. I have always looked up to and admired those who wore the uniform. Huston, Stein, Gardner, Fagerman, Kimmerle, Norenberg and Dahl were a few of the names that commanded respect in my book, and I was fortunate enough to later have some of those names become my mentors. Sheriff Dowson educated me on the requirements of getting licensed as a Peace Officer in the State of Minnesota and went on his way. The next day I received call from Sheriff Dowson who asked me if I was interested in working as a Jailer for him. I accepted immediately and I can still remember reaching for the handle to the employee entrance on the evening of August 7th, 1997. It did not take long for me realize that my goal in this career was to someday be the Sheriff of Cass County. Not long after being hired in the jail, Sheriff Dowson trusted in me enough to sponsor me for a part-time peace officer's license. Once licensed I began a new chapter in my career working as a Deputy Sheriff in the Recreation and eventually the Patrol divisions. As a part-time Deputy I worked in all 3 of our patrol area North, Central and South. During off-season months I also worked as a Corrections Officer in the Detention Center as well as a Dispatcher. In 2000 I began attending Hibbing Community College and in 2001 I graduated, earning my Associates Degree in Law Enforcement. Shortly thereafter I became a full-time Deputy. In the past 25 years I have experienced working in nearly every aspect of the Sheriff’s Office, serving as a Corrections Officer, Dispatcher, Patrol, Sergeant and in 2016 Sheriff Burch had the faith in me to promote me to Lieutenant and I am currently assigned as the Jail Administrator. Serving as Jail Administrator has afforded me immense opportunities that I did not foresee when I took the position. These opportunities include working hand in hand with the numerous agencies within the criminal justice, corrections and human services realms that make our system work. I have done everything in my power to foster and grow the relationships which has forged bonds between the jail and Social Services, the Courts, Probation, and attorneys. In doing so, the Cass County Detention Center is routinely complimented on how we go about our business and how we stay up do date and overcome whatever is thrown in our direction. Building these partnerships has reduced days in which inmates wait for assessments, medical and mental health treatment, and in turn reduced “jail days”. What once took numerous weeks to complete, we are now getting results the same day in some instances. I continue to strive towards these goals and assure you that our way of doing business is as efficient and cost effective as possible.
Over the past several years I began my study into leadership. Prior to being promoted to Sergeant I was looked upon as a “leader without rank” which was evident when I was elected by my peers as the Team Leader of the Emergency Response Unit (SWAT) early in my career. My interest in the art of leadership led me to the Minnesota Bureau of Apprehension’s “Supervision and Management” series which I graduated from, followed by their Senior Management” series a couple of years later. I have also graduated from the Institute for Credible Leadership Development offered by the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association. You should know, Cass County Sheriff’s Office has an extraordinary staff and as your next Sheriff I look forward to leading our staff as their “servant leader”. You may ask what is a servant leader? It means that I put the needs of my staff first. In doing so, I hope to eventually have a staff that is healthy, happy and most importantly they know they are appreciated and their opinion matters. I believe that it is my job to take care of my staff so that they may take care of you. I also pledge to maintain a healthy workplace environment where our staff would be proud to invite their friends to work. Some may ask why that is so important to a Sheriff, and I am here to tell you that one of the biggest challenges facing law enforcement today is that of recruitment and retention. The tragic events of the past few years have turned our hiring pools into hiring puddles. In a day and age where it is ever-increasingly more dangerous to be a law enforcement officer and with public perception being attacked every single day by our mainstream media it is no wonder why the young men and women of our country are choosing not to begin a career in law enforcement. I feel it is of the utmost importance to not only hire the best, but it is of equal importance to keep them hired.
I am proud of the relationship that the Cass County Sheriff’s Office has with our communities. It is so wonderful to walk down the streets of any of our towns and be thanked for our service or simply being approached by a member of the public and be asked a question. It is not that way everywhere. Our public trusts us and that is a direct reflection of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office’s commitment to being fair, honest, and engaged with those we serve. When elected as your sheriff I will continue the traditions of excellence and work every day to build upon those practices. I intend to be an active sheriff both in our communities and at the state level as well by assisting the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association in the attempts to make sure that our state legislators do not pass brash over-reaching laws that hinder how we do our jobs or passing unfunded mandates that drain Sheriff’s Office budgets.
And finally, you will notice that there is a “Donate” button here on the website. I ran for election in 2010 and by far the worst part of a campaign is asking for money. The harsh reality is that elections are very expensive. I intend on holding as many campaign fundraisers as possible in the coming months, but I ask you, if you are able, please contribute what you can. I truly appreciate it, whatever the amount. If you would like to get involved in the campaign or would like to request a campaign sign for your yard, please select the “get involved" tab.
This just a brief introduction into who I am and why I should be elected as your Sheriff. It is my intention to get out and personally meet with as many of you as possible before our general election this November. When we meet, I will answer any of your questions and prove to you why I am the right choice for your next sheriff. If you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you that you will be hard pressed to find anyone that will work harder for you than I will. Again, thank you for taking the time to learn a little bit about me and please stop back to the website often as it will always be a work in progress. Better yet, enter your email address into the “Subscribe” section and that way you will automatically be updated as the site is. In the coming months there will be announcements of “meet and greet” events as well as a “Frequently Asked Questions” tab.
I hope to meet you soon, and I would greatly appreciate your support and your vote during our November 8th General Election.