Sheriff candidates discuss backgrounds, concernsPublished 9:01am Sunday, August 10, 2014
In just a few short days, the race for Freeborn County sheriff will be narrowed down from three candidates to two.
The race has already proven to be controversial, with many concerns raised by deputies Kurt Freitag and Dale Glazier, who are seeking to oust incumbent Sheriff Bob Kindler.
Kindler has stood by his time in office.
The following is a background on each of the candidates and why they are running for office:
Glazier, 50, lives northeast of Albert Lea with his wife, Brenda, and his great-nephew, who he calls his son.
Glazier was born and raised in Wells. He has lived in the area for almost his entire life, except for three or four years spent in Idaho. He moved to his present location in 1988.
He has a farming background as an ag diesel mechanic and entered into law enforcement 11 years ago. He said he had always wanted to be in law enforcement but was talked out of it by his peers when he was young.
Glazier said from talking to people, they like the experience he has had in other careers before he became a deputy.
When asked what makes him a better candidate, Glazier said he is not a politician and he is honest and ethical.
“I will not sell out my integrity,” he said. “Having other jobs and working other places, I do have other backgrounds. I treat people fairly and I try to be very consistent to whether it’s someone I’ve dealt with before and arrested or a businessman.”
If he is elected he said he would seek to unify the department through communication, which he alleged has dwindled in recent years. He claimed one of his patrol sergeants hasn’t talked to him in three years and claimed Kindler does not communicate well either.
“If you communicate with people you have a common direction, a common goal, and it will boost morale,” Glazier said.
Another issue he is concerned about is a reported lack of investigations being conducted and a need for higher patrol.
He said if he is elected, he would take two of the patrol sergeants in the department and make them investigators and then take the present open investigator position and put that position back on the road.
He said sometimes there is only one patrol deputy on at a time in the early morning from 3 to 7 a.m., a time when State Patrol deputies are also gone and the Albert Lea Police Department is also short-staffed.
Glazier recently returned from an eight-week paid administrative leave after being cleared of an allegation of misconduct.
He was put on paid leave the day he filed for sheriff and claimed the move was political.
Kindler denied the claim was political, stating the incident in question happened a week before he was put on leave.
Freitag, 47, lives with his wife, Cheryl, just west of Albert Lea, and has two grown girls, Ashlyn and Lindsey.
He said he has lived in Freeborn County since 1993. Initially he was on the Glenville Police Department and joined the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office in July 1995.
He has worked on patrol for the length of his time on the department.
Since the last election, he said he has seen a decline in many areas in the department, including the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agreement and the number and quality of investigations, to name a few.
“I know that I can change that,” he said. “I’m the only candidate with leadership that I can inspire people to do their jobs and do it well.”
With 20 years in the Army, 17 of which were as a noncommissioned officer, he said he has a background that can bring positive change.
He said if he is elected there would be some personnel changes made in the best interest of the county, and he would like to inspire people to step up to the plate.
“We’re here to provide a service to the people of the county and the best service we can possibly provide,” Freitag said. “If that means we have to juggle key personnel around to provide the best service, that’s what we’re going to do.”
He accused Kindler of several ethics violations, and questioned most recently him allegedly campaigning at the Freeborn County Fair while on duty and using his county-issued pickup to haul his campaign equipment.
Kindler said the sheriff is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, particularly at the Freeborn County Fair and he is allowed under state law to be at his booth in uniform. He denied campaigning out of his booth while on duty or handing out any literature.
Freitag also claimed Kindler is turning away ICE detainees. He said if he is elected, the first thing he would do is call ICE officials and tell hem the county is under new management and would like to fill the facility up.
“If we sit back and say nothing or continue to lie to them and say we’re full, we could not get the ICE detainees that we could potentially have,” Freitag said. “That’s all potential revenue.”
In the county, he said he sees what he describes as a “meth epidemic” and the potential for serious problems with synthetic marijuana.
Meth is being made in large quantities in Mexico and being brought straight up Interstate 35.
He said he would like to train deputies on drug interdiction and has even considered having Freeborn County form its own drug task force.
Overall, he said he would conduct the Sheriff’s Office “fundamentally different” than what is taking place under Kindler.
“It’d be as different as night and day,” Freitag said.
Kindler, 55, lives with his wife, Laurie, south of Albert Lea in Albert Lea Township. He has been married for 31 years.
He said he grew up in southwestern Minnesota and moved to Freeborn County in 1987 when he was hired as a patrol deputy. In 1992, he was promoted to detective, handling welfare fraud investigations and crimes against people. In 1995, he was promoted to a detective/supervisor, and he first ran for sheriff in 2010, winning against former Sheriff Mark Harig.
Why law enforcement?
Kindler said he was always interest in law enforcement, so pursuing it gave him the opportunity to follow that interest and put his skills to use.
He said he is running for re-election because of his strong law enforcement and business background, which are needed for the position.
Kindler said running a more than $6 million budget takes knowledge, which he has. In addition to being able to budget well, he said he has the ability to bring people to the table to discuss issues and resolve problems.
His experience sets him apart from the other candidates, he noted.
Four years ago, he said he ran on the platform that he would cut wasted spending, and in the first year alone, he cut $198,000, he noted. Other highlights included the launch of the new ARMER radio system, a reorganization of the department, the hiring of a full-time emergency management director and being able to have increased training for deputies.
With the retirement of one investigator earlier this year, he said he knows there is a need for another one. Because the department is also a patrol deputy short, however, he is afraid to promote someone right away from deputy because that would decrease the number of people on the road.
Another issue he is concerned about in the community is illegal drugs. He said this is a growing problem nationwide, and locally he is seeing a problem with heroin.
He is working to increase courtroom security and make preparations for if there was an active shooter in the courthouse.
“Certainly our biggest challenge coming up is emergency management,” Kindler said. “We have made great strides in preparedness for that, but we have a long way to go.”
If he is re-elected, Kindler said he wants to continue to manage a budget that is not only efficient for the county, but that provides necessary services to residents. He also wants to improve emergency management preparedness and continue to run what he describes as a transparent office.