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Letter to the Editor

Something has really been bothersome to my mind the past few weeks.  Was there or was there not  “Invocation” or ”Benediction” at MCC Graduation in 2018?  If there was not,  this will be the first time, as far as I am aware of, that this part of  graduation exercise has been deleted in the history of graduations in Slayton, MN.  So, who would be responsible for this decision?   If this is true, I would feel a great deal of sadness that another long standing Christian tradition is being thrown away. 

Marlys Hegstad


Dear Citizens of Murray County,

I strongly urge citizens to read the investigative report on Sheriff Steve Telkamp, which is available at the Murray County Court Building. And if you are able to, also view the three videos before you make any decisions on who to vote for. It is your right to vote for whomever you think is the best candidate, but please weigh all of your options and research them first. Ask yourself, who is a fair person? Is he a leader or a controller? Does he work with the employees or is he a “my way or the highway” type person? Does he follow the laws in the workplace or make his own rules? Do we want a sheriff that conducts himself in a professional manner and does he set a good example for our children?

These are the 4 findings as quoted in the investigative report on Sheriff Telkamp.

“Finding 1: In November, 2017, In the presence of others, Sheriff Telkamp engaged in objectively inappropriate, aggressive, disparaging profane abusive, sexually charged and threatening behavior perceived and reported by observers as hostile, offensive, and retaliatory.

A) Sheriff Telkamp made disparaging, contemptuous and threatening remarks about the County Board and County Commissioners.

B) Sheriff Telkamp verbally berated and threatened the job of a female Sheriff’s Office Dispatcher who was also present for his tirade and  is related to a County Commissioner he referred to during the same discussion as f___ing retarded and a “’failed f__”. Sheriff Telkamp’s hostility and threats directed at the county employee due to their association with a County Board member, was perceived as and is objectively retaliatory behavior prohibited by County policy.

C) Sheriff Telkamp made disparaging, personal professional and gender based remarks about the female County Coordinator.

Finding 2: Sheriff’s Telkamp’s behavior conduct constitutes prohibited offensive conduct and harassment as defined by County Policy No. 202 (Offensive Conduct, Harassment,and Violence) and policy No 304 (Employee Conduct and Work Rules) . Both policies expressly apply to elected officials.

Finding 3: Sheriff’s Telkamp’s behavior constitutes “unprofessional conduct”’ as defined by Minn. Stat.626.8457 and the POST Board Professional Conduct of Peace Officers Model Policy.

Finding 4: Any claim this investigation was conducted In retaliation for claims Sheriff Telkamp made is not substantiated and is refuted by record.

“The investigation record includes information provided by County employees and outside law enforcement personnel who have been targets of Sheriff Telkamp’s behavior, a pattern of conduct perceived and characterized as aggressive, condescending and threatening. Due to the belief and fear witnesses sincerely and credibly expressed about Sheriff Telkamp’s potential for aggressively confronting, threatening and otherwise retaliating against them, witness names and accounts are not discussed herein.” The videos and remarks captured on the video are compelling evidence of his behavior.

If you choose to watch the videos please make sure there are no children present. The videos are graphic and vulgar.

Thank you,

Carol Gregory


Dear Citizens of Murray County:

I am writing this letter in response to Carol Gregory’s letter to the editor in the Murray County News, Advantage and Wheel Herald, asking several questions about the operations of the Sheriff’s Office and conduct of Sheriff Telkamp. As a dispatcher, currently employed with the Murray County Sheriff’s Office under the supervision of Sheriff Telkamp, for the past 15 years I can honestly answer these questions,

1. Who is a fair and honest person? 

In this day and age, to find a leader with the trust worthiness and integrity of Sheriff Telkamp is hard to find. In this field, unfortunately, the fair decision is not always the popular one. Sheriff Telkamp has had to make such decisions continuously with no complications.

2. Is he a leader or a controller?

Sheriff Telkamp, is most definitely a leader. In the years I have worked at the Murray County Sheriff’s Office he has always communicated with his staff, whether it was positive feedback on a call or guiding staff on handling situations in different ways. Sheriff Telkamp has always motivated his staff to be the best employees that we can be.

3. Does he work with his employees or is he a ”my way or the highway”  type of person?

Sheriff Telkamp has always worked with his employees. He has personally covered shifts to accommodate his staff. He will send staff to ongoing education to help build his employees knowledge. In my experience he has always had an open ear on how to do things differently to make the office run more efficiently.

4.Does he follow the laws in the workplace or make his own rules?

Yes, he follows the laws of the workplace. He has always tried to make the work environment and our job as easy as possible and the best he can.

5. Do we want a Sheriff that conducts himself in a professional manner and does he set a good example for our children?

Yes, and that is what the citizens of Murray County currently have.  He is very passionate about his staff and the citizens in this county. He has been Sheriff for 16 years and this is the only Incident of him acting out of character. He has been bullied by the Commissioners, County Coordinator, Aurora Heard and County Attorney, Travis Smith, for months before this happened. He was simply standing up for his us, his staff! And yes, he is a great example for our youth. He works with so many children in different events, including the bike rodeo, the mock crash, Halloween, Murray County Christmas Project Raffle attending and supporting school related activities for the local youth and the Murray County Fair.

I encourage the citizens to stop listening to rumors and ask the current employees what is going on. I have heard several rumors about staff not being able to do their jobs and staff and outside law enforcement personnel being locked out of offices. This is false, everyone is still able to do their jobs and can come and go for any work related tasks.

I have worked in this field for 23 years. Sheriff Telkamp is one of the best bosses that I have worked with. He does genuinely cares about his employees and the citizens of this county. I have personally witnessed Sheriff Telkamp in very emotional situations and he has always conducted himself in a professional and caring matter. Again, this is the leader I would want in my community.  It is so hurtful to see Sheriff Telkamp treated this way. He has done so much for his staff and this community.  It is hard to see people turn their backs on him, especially the people that don’t know the real story and are going off rumors. It is my opinion that if he didn’t care about his staff he would not be in this position. But he stood up for the deputies, dispatchers and other administrative staff to be our voice and save jobs. Now he Is the one that could lose his. He has fought for all of us many times. Now I am asking the citizens of Murray County to fight for him.

To address the investigation. I was called (while on duty)asking me to come in for an interview. After asking several times what the investigation  was about, they failed to inform me as to what they were investigating. I was not given enough time to get union representation for the interview, so declined the interview in concern of the County Commissioners, County Coordinator Aurora Heard and County Attorney Travis Smith if they did not like my statements to the investigator. I would like the public to know I have absolutely no concerns working for Sheriff Telkamp. Nor have I ever felt harassed by Sheriff Telkamp. Sheriff Telkamp has never created or made me feel  like I was in a hostile work environment. There are concerns about other employees in the office and it has been brought to the Board and Personnel’s attention and there is nothing getting done about this situation. I know for a fact that my supervisor also brought this to the attention of Mark Nipp, Personnel Committee and County Board and they refuse to act on the complaints which have been raised by myself and other Sheriff’s Office Staff.

I am also asking the citizens to take a long look at the current County Commissioners. They continue to make irresponsible financial decisions including paying a minimum of $30,000.00 per year to cover medical examiner costs that Sheriff Telkamp did for free. (Brian Christensen also covered coroner calls and was paid $200.00 per call) The hiring of Governmental Operations Consultant Mark Nipp at a minimum of $6,000.00 per month for 6 months ($36,000.00 minimum). I feel he was brought here by the County Commissioners and is working under the direction of the County Commissioners and County Coordinator Aurora Heard. In the time that the board hired the Governmental Operations Consultant he has not done anything to make our work environment better or less hostile.  As an employee of this county for l5 years this is all a slap in the face considering myself and the remainder of the dispatchers still have not settled our contract this year.  But they will pay a minimum of $66,000 in services that ARE NOT NEEDED!

I simply could not sit back and watch the County Commissioners, County Coordinator Aurora Heard and County Attorney Travis Smith, continue to spread false accusations and attempt to destroy a solid career. I fully understand by voicing my opinion I am risking my job. I am very concerned about the County Commissioners, County Coordinator Aurora Heard and County Attorney Travis Smith, and I fear losing my job for submitting this letter. I encourage everyone to get out and vote in the Primary Election on August 14, 2018 and the General Election on November 6, 2018 and vote Sheriff Telkamp!

If anyone would like to contact me to ask any questions please feel free to send me an email at engelsj74@gmail.com and leave a phone number and I will call you back. Thank you.

Jannette Engels