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Peterson named new chief deputy: Sheriff Wolbersen appoints him to replace Lake

Douglas County Jail Administrator Jackie Notch pins new collar brass on Jason Peterson, the newly appointed Douglas County chief deputy. Sheriff Troy Wolbersen (left) made the appointment official at Tuesday's Douglas County Board meeting. County commissioners (left to right) Charlie Meyer, Keith Englund, Owen Miller (not pictured), Jim Stratton and Jerry Rapp affirmed the appointed during the meeting. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press) 1 / 2
Jason Peterson2 / 2

When Jason Peterson was in fifth grade, he was given an opportunity to go on a ride-along with a sheriff's deputy. It was that ride and several more, along with hunting opportunities with deputies as he got older, that helped grow his interest in law enforcement.

Twenty-five years after his career with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office began, Sgt. Peterson has been named by Sheriff Troy Wolbersen as the county's new chief deputy.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Peterson's appointment was scheduled to be affirmed by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners. Peterson, 47, is replacing Brad Lake, who retired at the end of October after 30 years with the sheriff's office.

"He has proven himself as a leader in the office," Wolbersen said of Peterson. "He understands that it (the job) is not about him. He understands what's good for the county and for this office. He grew up in this community and understands it and is committed to it."

Wolbersen said that Peterson is well-respected within the sheriff's office and his decision- making is "sound," which is what led to the respect. He said Peterson works hard, enjoys his job and deputies know what Peterson's expectations are.

Peterson has been a part of many aspects of the sheriff's office, including jail and dispatching, water patrol, road deputy, investigations, drug task force, firearms instructor, SWAT team, dive team and more. He is currently the SWAT team commander.

Peterson describes himself as a "lead by example" kind of person, meaning that what he expects out of the team of deputies, they can expect out of him. He said he's looking forward to continuing to build partnerships not only in the community, but also within the office.

How it began

One of Peterson's best friends when he was growing up was Jason Ingebrigtsen, whose father, state Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, was a 34-year veteran of the sheriff's office who served 16 of those years as sheriff.

On more than one occasion when Ingebrigtsen worked as a deputy, he let Peterson do ride-alongs with him. Ingebrigtsen would also pick the two boys up from school in his squad car, which Peterson thought as a kid was pretty cool.

At the time, Ingebrigtsen was also a K-9 handler, which led Peterson to eventually become a K-9 handler. Peterson had two K-9 dogs — Bear from 1999-2007 and Bosco from 2007-14.

In his younger days, Peterson also spent time hunting with Ingebrigtsen, which is when he met Wolbersen for the first time. Wolbersen and Lake were both deputies back then and would often hunt with Peterson.

Peterson said his goal was to become a deputy like Ingebrigtsen, Wolbersen and Lake, and that is what he pursued.

While attending what was then known as Fergus Falls Community College, Peterson did an internship with the water patrol. And although he attended college in Fergus Falls, his degree comes from Northland Community College.

Peterson began his career with the sheriff's office in 1993 as a part-time employee. He was hired on full-time in July 1995, and promoted to sergeant in October 2007.

Peterson, who says he is a "social person," also coaches youth baseball and hockey. He is married to his high-school sweetheart, Stacy, and they have three children: Michael, 18; Nicholas, 13; and Madeline, 7.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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