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Dakota County Sheriff’s Office recognizes new deputies, outstanding achievements

The Dakota County Sheriff’s Office held a formal swearing-in and awards ceremony on Friday, Aug. 5, at 10:30 a.m., at the Dakota County Courthouse in Hastings. The ceremony was streamed live on the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

Sheriff Tim Leslie swore in four new correctional deputies, six general duty deputies, a correctional deputy corporal and a general duty deputy sergeant. An awards ceremony followed, recognizing deputies, officers, park rangers and citizens for their outstanding achievements. Highlights included Sergeant Dawanna Witt’s National Sheriff’s Association award for Explorer Advisor of the Year, and Sergeant Matt Schuster’s Life Saving Award for the use of Narcan (Naxalone) to save a person’s life who was overdosing on heroin.

Correctional deputies are Scott Blehm, Caleb Kocher, Samuel Polito and Martin Stewart. General duty deputies are Jennie DeVane, Amanda Jaskowiak, Joshua Johnson, Joseph Oliver, Jamie Scherf and Ryan Van Gundy.

Tim Parker was promoted to correctional corporal.

Blake Pederson was promoted to sergeant.

The National Sheriffs’ Association Award was presented to Sergeant Dawanna Witt.

A Citizen Certificate of Recognition was presented to Kent Peine.

Group awards were given to Deputy Ryan Googins, Deputy Andrew Leko, Detective Sean Qualy, Deputy Brian Smidt, Deputy Gordon Steffel and Sergeant Matthew Wayne.

The Sheriff’s Award of Merit was presented to Sergeant Dawanna Witt.

The Commendation Medal of Merit was presented to Northfield Police Sergeant Scott Johnson, Northfield Police Officer Joshua Nelson, Sergeant Scott Durdall, Detective Tim Fletcher, Deputy Tony Welin and Detective Ryan Olson.

Lifesaving Awards were presented to Special Duty Deputy Ryan Holmquist, Minnesota Conservation Officer Joe Kulhanek, Minnesota Conservation Officer Vuthy Pril, Sergeant Matthew Schuster and Park Ranger Judah Wimbley.