There’s a new Sheriff in town, or rather, in the whole of Lincoln County. Steve Swenson was elected to become the Sheriff of Lincoln County in November.
Swenson’s career began back in September 30 of 1991 when he joined the South Dakota Highway Patrol. He served up until November 23 of 2018 before being sworn in as Sheriff on January 8 of this year. Before all of this, Swenson was simply a high school student that was focused on the career path that he wanted to pursue after a bit of inspiration.
After attending a career fair at Wessington Springs High School as a student. Swenson was intrigued and quite interested from what he learned at the fair about the Highway Patrol. He stated that he made the firm decision at 16 years old that going into the Highway Patrol was what he was going to do. As it would turn out, he was hired right away at the age of 21, the youngest age that the Highway Patrol allows for new troopers.
“It was a great decision because I absolutely loved what I did and it was a great career,” he stated.
The Highway Patrol proved to be a valuable resource for Swenson as he changed his career path from trooper to Sheriff.
He explained, “The Highway Patrol’s Leadership Training Program is outstanding and I’ve had tons of training in that area; the Sheriff’s role is a leadership role. I know the in’s and out’s of law enforcement and the effects it has both on the public and the effects it has on the police officers. It made for an easy transition.”
Swenson got the idea to run after he was approached by multiple people who were wondering if he would consider running for the Sheriff’s position. Since he was at the point where he had racked up enough years to be eligible to retire from the Highway Patrol, Swenson decided to run for the position as the next leg of his career.
He stated, “It fit into my next step as far as career goes and I was looking for a new challenge, so it all just kind of fell into place.”
Now that he’s taken the reins as Sheriff after the retirement of Dennis Johnson who served 20 years as the Lincoln County Sheriff, he’s gotten a chance to work with his new department.
(Photo by Caitlyn French)