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Washington County sheriff announces election bid

Dan Starry was sworn in May 2 as the new Washington County Sheriff. Tenth Judicial District Judge Gregory G. Galler administered the oath while Starry’s wife Jeanice held the Bible. Submitted photo courtesy of Washington County. 1 / 2
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One of the easier decisions Dan Starry has made as Washington County sheriff was deciding to run for re-election.

"It was certainly not a hard decision," he said. "It's where I want to be."

Starry was appointed sheriff in May after former sheriff Bill Hutton stepped down to take a job as executive director of the Minnesota Sheriffs' Association.

Starry has been with the sheriff's office for his entire 24-year career, since stepping in as a deputy in 1993. He's served as a D.A.R.E. teacher, on the narcotics unit, as a K-9 officer, on the SWAT team and eventually commanding the SWAT team.

"You learn a lot, making sure that everyone has the training and necessary skills to prevent tragedies that are out there," Starry said.

Since being appointed sheriff, Starry has started several new initiatives — including a therapy dog program in the county jail — and continued a number of standing programs including prescription drug take-back collections, mental health initiatives and training, fighting and preventing sex trafficking and the participation in the East Metro Crime Prevention Coalition.

"We continue to be that agency that continues to forge with forward thinking and making sure that we work with our citizens and community," he said.

Starry said community engagement is one of his top priorities.

"We have to work hand in hand with them every day, and making sure that those partnerships are made," he said.

Opioid prevention is another a priority, he said, especially after working with D.A.R.E. and on the narcotics team early in his career.

"We're still continuing to collect unused and unwanted prescriptions," he said. "We continue to get a lot that are dropped off ... which is great because it gets it off the streets and out of the hands."

There are four drop-off sites in the county, after a new one in Woodbury opened last year. Cottage Grove, Stillwater and Forest Lake house the other three.

If elected, Starry said he would concentrate on how technology interacts with law enforcement, beyond just body-worn cameras.

"Technology (related crimes) and investigating that, those kinds of crimes that prey on our most vulnerable, is something that's near and dear to me," he said.

Starry said he'd also work to get the new cold case department operating. He started it about a month and a half ago, and it's still getting on its feet.

"We've identified a couple cases that we can follow up leads on," Starry said. "We have a unique approach to that: we brought in our partners, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the county attorney and other county partners. ... We're making sure we look at everything and make sure we don't miss anything."

"There's a lot of initiatives, we're a growing metro county," he added.