Hennepin County Sheriff visits Park

Newly elected officer discusses policies


Grace Farley

Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson speaks to a small group of seniors in C350 June 3. Senior Cailey Hansen-Mahoney organized the event and allowed students to submit questions that they wanted Sherrif Hutchinson to answer.

Abby Intveld and Dani Orloff

After senior Cailey Hansen-Mahoney followed the Hennepin County Sheriff’s race for office in 2018, she said she was interested in learning more about newly-elected Sheriff Dave Hutchinson’s policies.   

“His race was really, really interesting to me and I think it had a lot of ideological issues that were brought up in a way that we don’t see in a lot of races,” Hutchinson said. “I think Sheriff Hutchinson decided to run because of decisions that were being made by Sheriff Stanik, so, I thought that it would be an interesting person to have come in and I saw the we would be willing to meet with students.”

According to the Huffington Post, Dave Hutchinson, was elected to the office of the Hennepin County Sheriff in 2018, winning 2,300 more votes than Rich Stanek, the former Hennepin County Sheriff.

Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson said he decided to run for the office because he didn’t want the former sheriff to run uncontested in 2018.

“About two years ago, I said I was going to run for sheriff because of m interactions with the former sheriff,” Hutchinson said. “The former sheriff and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. I don’t think he was fulfilling what the people wanted. And really from the election that showed.”

Hansen-Mahoney said she coordinated the visit with Hutchinson.

“I saw that he had met with some students from Eden Prairie because he posted on Twitter about it, so I DM’d him over twitter about it and he responded. He then put me in contact with the scheduler,” Hansen-Mahoney said.

Hutchinson said his main objectives of ensuring the rate of incarcerated civilians decreases and treating those arrested as human beings is evidenced by the county’s work to address opioid and other drug-related crimes.

“We’re the second Sheriff’s office in the nation to offer opiod treatment in the jail and then we’re actually paying for it when you get released from jail. We’ll give you a three drugs that will help you get off instead of just treating withdrawal symptoms because we want to get you better,” Hutchinson said. “We don’t want people in jail – it’s expensive. We want people to get jobs, go to school, have families, and pay taxes.”

We are his employer. We are the only people he’s accountable to, so I think it’s really good for us to have that relationship.”

— Cailey Hansen-Mahoney, senior

According to Hansen-Mahoney, the conversation covered many different issues law enforcement encounter.

“We talked about the collaboration between the Hennepin county sheriff’s office and ICE, we talked about county prison conditions, we talked about how transgender inmates are treated, and police use of force, we talked about a lot of things. He was really open and willing to talk about anything.”

Hutchinson said his daily work includes meeting with minorities in the county to build relationships.

“Once a week I go to the north side and I literally just go to different churches,” Hutchinson said. “I think the churches are such an important thing because they have strong religious base and the pastor has pull in their community. You know, we’re not without sin. We have mistakes that we’ve done, but also we have to work together. You just can’t say no to the police and not have a solution.” 

Aside from the winter weather, Hutchinson said he enjoys representing such a diverse county.

“The county is one of the only counties in the nation really where you can have a big city, Minneapolis. But also you go 20 minutes past like Minnetonka here and there’s farmers out there,” Hutchinson said. “It’s a vast difference between urban, suburban and rural. And we have everybody from pretty much the whole world here. You have high Somali population, Hmong population, growing Latino population, and one of the biggest LGBT populations.”

According to Hutchinson, when he was elected, there were about one thousand civilians incarcerated in the county every single day.

“In six months we’ve decreased the jail by about 200 people on average working with my partners, social workers and it’s working so far,” Hutchinson said. “I think today was 699. It’s not all of us, it’s has a lot to do with county attorneys doing different things in court and people releasing them earlier. We’re getting people out of our jail and into treatment facilities or into a mental health treatment.”

Hansen-Mahoney said she believes it’s always good to meet elected officials.

“We are his employer. We are the only people he’s accountable to, so I think it’s really good for us to have that relationship,” Hansen-Mahoney said.