By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Although it might seem a little unusual for someone with no law enforcement background — like a medical examiner — to run for sheriff, it is not unheard of says Chris Kruse.
Kruse spoke to the Colfax Village Board at the May 27 meeting about his candidacy for Dunn County sheriff.
Kruse has been the chief medical examiner for Dunn County since 2001. He began serving as the chief deputy medical examiner in 1989.
Kruse, who lives in rural Boyceville, said people often ask him “how” he can be running for sheriff with no law enforcement background or law enforcement credentials.
State statute does not require people to have law enforcement background or credentials to run for sheriff, Kruse explained.
The sheriffs in Monroe County, Washburn County and Clark County do not have a law enforcement background, he said.
The position of sheriff in Dunn County is responsible for a $6.3 million budget, so the sheriff is an administrator, a department head and a staff leader, Kruse said.
The sheriff’s department has a capable and well-trained staff to take care of the law enforcement issues for the department, he said.
In the time that Kruse has served as either the deputy or the chief medical examiner, he has been involved with thousands of death investigations.
The Dunn County medical examiner’s office deals with about 350 cases per year, and about 100 of those cases involve contact with law enforcement to investigate the death, Kruse said.
Kruse is a retired military officer who served as a helicopter pilot with the United States Army. After he was injured in a helicopter crash, he retired as Chief Warrant Officer-3.
Kruse flew civilian medical helicopters for 14 years and serves as a volunteer First Responder in Dunn County.
Kruse told the Colfax Village Board that many employees at the sheriff’s department had asked him to run for sheriff, that he has “just shy” of 600 signatures on his nomination form for sheriff, and that 95 percent of the Dunn County sheriff’s departments employees either signed the nomination form or said they supported him for sheriff.
Kruse said he applauded the Colfax Village’s Board efforts at hiring a new police chief and also said that in the past, the sheriff’s department had missed opportunities to help Colfax.
Kruse will be running against fellow Democrat, Dunn County Sheriff Dennis Smith, in the August 12 primary.
To date, no Republicans have announced that they are candidates for Dunn County sheriff.