Letter to our Anoka County Community,
My name is Paul Lenzmeier, and I have been campaigning for the Office of Sheriff since Sheriff James Stuart announced his retirement last year. The first priority for my campaign has been to continue connecting with members of the community, so I can hear your questions and concerns regarding public safety in Anoka County. Throughout my attendance at 2022 Anoka County events, I have ensured there was time for conversations and questions with a variety of people.
As a result of these productive and insightful conversations, I have developed five key priorities as your next Anoka County Sheriff. First, I will bring people together in what I have described as CommUNITY focused public safety. I am proud of the relationships I have built over the past 25 years within the community and throughout the public safety profession. As your Sheriff, I will continue building trust and bringing people together in impactful ways. Our community must focus on our shared values, specifically, on the desire to have a safe community for us to live and work in. From there, we can tackle the more difficult challenges together.
Second, the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office is known for the law and order we maintain. Anoka County deserves a sheriff who cares for you and will meet you where you are to address your concerns. I vow to look out after Anoka County first as nothing is more important than Anoka County public safety. Together we can ensure our community remains a safe place to live and visit.
In every rank I have held at the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, I have sworn an oath to uphold the constitution of the United States and the State of Minnesota. As your Sheriff, I will begin by reaffirming my oath as I have done in every promotion since 2008. I will protect the rights of all residents and visitors of Anoka County without exception.
In 2020, I led the first contingent of Anoka County Sheriff’s Office personnel to respond to the Minneapolis riots. I served as the platoon leader with a group of over 60 law enforcement officers tasked with restoring order in Minneapolis. It was this experience that solidified my resolve to always maintain law and order in Anoka County. We can never lift our hands up in surrender to those who want to destroy our community. I understand and have experienced firsthand how difficult it is to restore order during unrest, and have a firm understanding of why maintaining the law is so critically important.
As your Sheriff, I will not back down to those who wish to divide and destroy our great county. We will be proactive in the enforcement of laws and will hold those who commit crimes accountable. Working with our newly elected county attorney and the courts, I will ensure that all pieces of our Justice system in Anoka County stand together in holding accountable those who choose to victimize our community.
Third, Anoka County has not been immune to the behavioral and mental health crises that are affecting our country. I intend on creating a Behavioral and Mental Health Advisory Group to be a voice for public safety responses to those in crisis. This plan is currently underway with a firm foundation being laid. I have already connected with numerous community partners who are excited about this initiative, and we will provide transparency in our training initiatives moving forward. Additionally, we will solicit input from those who are facing these challenges on how to successfully respond and resolve these crises.
We will work with people through understanding and perspective, and not just through data or reports. The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office has already increased our training on this subject, but I feel we need to get our community involved in the conversation on how to best serve them during these challenging times.
Fourth, we have seen a critical shortage of candidates in law enforcement and I believe this is a direct result of the attack on our great men and women serving in the profession. Anoka County has had great community support for law enforcement, but the national and local narrative of defunding law enforcement has taken a devastating toll on our profession. I am committed to changing the narrative and will take steps to support our law enforcement professionals. Changes in hiring have already taken place as I have worked to be creative in the hiring process by extending eligibility dates for licensure, making offers to candidates who are still in college, and working on a cadet program to develop candidates by hiring them and getting them accustomed to our culture.
The office also has several staff working part-time in local schools being great ambassadors for our agency. I will continue to be forward thinking and bringing creative ideas to hire and retain the best staff to serve Anoka County. While we are not the highest paid agency, the environment I create with my administration will be positive and inviting, and I will work with the county board to ensure we are offering competitive salaries in all areas of the Sheriff’s Office.
Finally, Anoka County has historically been known for collaboration. I have built great relationships with public safety leadership in Anoka County and I will continue to build bridges and find ways to increase the efficiency of Anoka County public safety services. This will take the shape of collaborating with resources and equipment, and partnering with training programs to ensure that Anoka County’s collective of law enforcement personnel are well prepared for any challenges we might face. This collaboration goes beyond our law enforcement partners, it also means maintaining our relationships with our Fire and EMS providers as well.
For the past 11+ years I have worked as a command staff member of the Sheriff’s Office under Sheriff Stuart. I am very proud of the work we have done in the community to establish relationships and build a positive reputation of the Sheriff’s Office. We have been able to successfully lead the Sheriff’s Office through some very challenging times and I am extremely proud to have been a part of this administration in protecting the rights of our community, as well as holding the line to protect against chaos and disorder. As your Sheriff, I will continue these positive efforts and will ensure the Sheriff’s Office continues to provide exceptional public safety services.
I look forward to serving as your next Sheriff and would be honored if you chose to support me. I am always willing to continue connecting with all members of the county, and welcome your questions and comments. Please feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give me a call at 763-489-8660. Thank you for your consideration.