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County law enforcement aims to protect and serve
June 10, 2018

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With a staff of roughly 50 employees, the Faribault County Sheriff's Department has the responsibility of ensuring the safety of all the county's citizens.

One of the main duties of the sheriff's department includes working in conjunction with full time police departments in Blue Earth, Elmore, Winnebago, Wells and Minnesota Lake. According to county sheriff Mike Gormley, this network between departments helps to accomplish one common goal.

"We work very well with the other departments," Gormley says. "We have a supporting role working with all the other agencies and backing them up. We rely on each other for the backup and working investigations. Each agency works their own cases, but we all communicate with one another and work together."

In addition, the sheriff's department also covers areas in the county without a full-time police agency. Communication with neighboring counties such as Martin and Freeborn County is also a part of the department's job description.

So what types of situations do the Faribault County Sheriff's Department respond to? When it comes to drug related offenses, Gormley, a county law enforcement veteran of 23 years, says the job description will vary from time to time.

"Whether it's crystal meth or synthetics, the drug stuff kind of goes in waves," Gormley explains. "Now, the meth is back up again, as far as quantity, but we are not seeing as many meth labs as we used to, and that is a good thing."

Aside from narcotics, the county sheriff's department staff is required to wear many hats throughout the course of a normal work day. That being said, sheriff Gormley believes his staff's collective versatility is their most valuable asset.

"As a sheriff's office, we handle civil processing, things like serving papers and orders for protection. We also run the jail, and we are in charge of the security at the court," Gormley notes. "If there is someone who is dealing with a mental health crisis, we will handle that problem as well."

To keep the department running efficiently, Gormley, who grew up in Kiester, gives praise to his hard working department which includes 11 deputies (with K-9 deputy Zeus), four full-time dispatchers and eight full-time jailors, along with several part-time employees. It is a group he is quite thankful to be working with.

"I've really got a great staff that can perform many different assignments, and they do very well at all of them," Gormley shares. "That is the best part about working where I'm at. They treat people well, and that is one thing I pride my department on."

Since becoming Faribault County's sheriff in 2007, Gormley says one of his department's major accomplishments came in 2012, when the perpetrator of a Blue Earth homicide case was quickly brought to justice.

In that case, Brian Freeman was arrested for the murder of Christopher Fulmer. As Gormley recalls, providing closure to a grieving family gave the entire department an added sense of relief and satisfaction.

"We worked with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and we were able to get the gentleman in custody. We got a full confession out of him within 24 hours, that was a major victory for us," Gormley says.

"We want to respond to any call with respect and dignity so that we can resolve their situations," he adds.

Gormley, along with his wife Kim, has raised three daughters; Mikayla, Myah and Brianna. The couple is also the proud grandparents of two. With the demanding duties of being the county sheriff, Gormley feels lucky to have a strong support team at home.

"That's the group that kind of keeps me going," the sheriff says.

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