Local sheriffs grow tired alleged lack of support from elected officials

Law enforcement, “We feel a lack of support from the capitol”

The day's local, regional and national news, detailed events and late-breaking stories are presented by the ABC 6 News Team, along with the latest sports, weather updates including the extended forecast.

(ABC 6 News) – Local sheriffs from southeast Minnesota are growing tired of what they are calling a lack of support from inside the state capitol and from the highest elected officials.

In the early morning hours of Feb. 18, first responders swarmed a Burnsville home during a domestic violence call; a response that turned into an hours-long standoff.

— RELATED: Local law enforcement react to shooting in Burnsville

In the end, two police officers and a firefighter were killed in the line of duty.

Those events drew responses in every part of the country, including in Dodge County.

Dodge County Sheriff Scott Rose took his frustrations to X, formerly known as Twitter, after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz addressed the situation in Burnsville during a press conference.

Although it was Rose who made that post, local law enforcement that felt comfortable going on camera with ABC 6 News shared a similar outlook on what they are calling a lack of support from state leaders.

“This is really hard work and I think for Minnesotans to understand what these folks do every single day, that’s why it’s really important we put them in the best position to do their jobs,” said Walz at the press conference.

It’s statements like these from the governor, that are drawing new cries from those wearing a badge.

“It’s a frustrating time right now for law enforcement,” said Rose.

This frustrating time, Rose says, has only been made worse by state and local officials and Rose is not the only one who feels that way.

“We tie our boots every day and we know that when we sign up and take that oath that there’s going to be tough and difficult days ahead,” said Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson. “We know it and our families know it, but we never expect that you’re not going to have the backing from people you hope would support you.”

These local sheriffs say there is a lack of support for the men and women in blue from those sitting inside the capitol.

“We have men and women who have worked in our communities for years to build trust in our communities. That trust has taken years to build, and that trust can be ruined like that,” said Rose.

In the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd back in 2020, many local law enforcement officials say our politicians painted peace officers with a broad brush and vilified the entire profession.

“It’s one incident or individual that made some really bad decisions and that does not reflect on all of us, and it shouldn’t. Just like it doesn’t in other professions,” said Torgerson.

A spokesperson for Gov. Walz sent ABC 6 News this statement:

The Governor has always supported law enforcement, and last year signed the largest public safety budget in state history. That budget included a record $300 million distributed to every police and fire department in the state, a proposal that was the result of listening sessions he held across the state, including in Rochester, to hear from local law enforcement officials about their needs.

Some lawmakers agree that the money should not go unnoticed.

“I do feel like we are listening and responding and at the legislature we pass laws, we allocate dollars, but there’s a finite limit to the powers that we have,” said Sen. Liz Boldon (DFL-Rochester).

But others say that money alone is not enough.

“They’re throwing dollars at it and what they forget is law enforcement, for most cops, is not a job,” said Rose. “Nobody gets into law enforcement for money. You get into it because it’s a calling.”

Just last year, lawmakers passed legislation concerning school resource officers.

— RELATED: Lawmakers to kick off legislative session with bill seeking to clarify SRO law

“It was shocking there was not any involvement with law enforcement before the bill was passed,” said Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) “That would serve as example A about a bad way to do legislation. To just shove something through without talking to the experts in the field on an issue you’re trying to help.”

A bill this year, lawmakers now have to fix due to unclear language. The bill even resulted in multiple SROs pulling out of several school districts since the law was signed.

It was the tragedy felt by the entire nation last month, and the resulting outpouring of support for those who risk their lives every day, that is now leaving law enforcement more hopeful for the future.

And they have ideas on how things can change.

“Don’t just come out when it’s convenient to be positive about it,” said Sheriff Torgerson. “Do it every day, just like we’re expected to every day to do everything we can to support our communities. So, do the same thing for us,” said Sheriff Torgerson.

ABC 6 News reached out to Walz’s office repeatedly over a span of two weeks for an interview on this story, but our request was declined.