ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

The women behind the badges; bailiff, deputies at Douglas County Sheriff's Office talk about their jobs

This is the second in a two-part series dedicated to women in law enforcement.

DCSO 0835.jpg
We are part of The Trust Project.

Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series dedicated to women in law enforcement.

DOUGLAS COUNTY — In the May/June issue of the Echo Press’ Chicz magazine, women in law enforcement were featured in celebration of National Police Week.

National Police Week is a collaborative effort of many organizations dedicated to honoring America’s law enforcement community.

This is the first in a two-part series dedicated to women in law enforcement.

Although National Police Week was established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962 as a way to pay special recognition to law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty, this two-part series would like to pay tribute to the women law enforcement officers who work with the Alexandria Police Department and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
In this second part of the series, read about some of the women at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office including Kristie Reuss, Aimee Sebesta and Nicole Swanson.

Kristie Reuss

ReussKristie.jpg
Kristie Reuss

Kristie Reuss was raised in Glenwood and is currently a bailiff. She received her AA degree in law enforcement at the Alexandria Technical College in 1997.

ADVERTISEMENT

She volunteered with the Pope County Sheriff’s Posse, was a bike patrol officer in Glenwood and dispatched in Pope County while attending school.

Kristie was hired in Douglas County in 1997.

She has been married to her husband, Brad, going on 24 years. They have a small hobby farm and have raised a lot of animals.

Q: How long have you been with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and what are your current duties?

A: I have been with Douglas County going on 25 years. I was hired as a correctional officer in 1997 and was promoted to jail sergeant in 2005. After 16 years in that position, I recently transitioned to bailiff. I help with court security and make sure the in-custody inmates get to their hearings. When I am not helping over at court, I help jail staff where needed.

Q: Why did you want to become a law enforcement officer or what drew you to this career path?

A: I like to try to help people and being a part of the law enforcement “family.” My dad told me I watched too much CHIPS Patrol when I was younger.

Q: What part of your job is the most rewarding and what part is the most challenging?

ADVERTISEMENT

A: The most rewarding is when people in the criminal justice system have worked hard and gotten their lives turned around for the good and they will call or you run into them in the public and they are so excited to share how well they are doing.

The most challenging is seeing people at their very worst and they feel they are worthless.

Q: What advice would you have for a young woman considering going into law enforcement?

A: This is a career that is a calling and if you feel you are being called, follow your heart. Law enforcement is a second family and the camaraderie between officers is priceless.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

A: I like to volunteer and am currently working on a project to help with critical incidents through the chaplaincy in a neighboring county. I love being outdoors – especially in the woods or by a lake – walking/hiking, camping, kayaking, bicycling, jogging, swimming, rollerblading, snowshoeing and riding motorcycle, snowmobile and my donkey. And I like spending time with family and friends. And also dancing, reading and knitting/looming.

Nicole Swanson

KlimekNicole.jpg
Nicole Klimek

Nicole Swanson was born and raised in Douglas County. She lives in Garfield with her husband and their two children. Her husband is also in law enforcement, which keeps their household very busy.

Before becoming a deputy, Nicole obtained her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a focus of Sociology from Concordia University in Saint Paul. She started her “big girl” life as a Family and Youth Advocate at the Harriet Tubman Shelter in Maplewood.

ADVERTISEMENT

Eventually, she returned home and was hired with the DCSO as a 911 dispatcher, while she completed the Law Enforcement Skills program.

Q: How long have you been with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and what are your current duties?

I have been with the sheriff’s office since 2015. I am currently assigned as the School Resource

Officer, working with all Douglas County schools and teaching D.A.R.E. In addition to 911 dispatching, I have worked as a water patrol deputy and road deputy. I am currently involved in our Domestic Violence Task Force, Douglas County Sheriff’s Federation, Douglas County SWAT as a negotiator and serving on the Minnesota D.A.R.E. board.

Q: Why did you want to become a law enforcement officer or what drew you to this career path?

I did not ever imagine being here. I never felt like I had a career direction. There were many people I met and situations that I encountered that brought me here. While working for the shelter, a victim and her children came in with a female cop late one evening, and I was inspired. Simply, her presence brought this family comfort and safety, and I wanted to be that.

Q: What part of your job is the most rewarding and what part is the most challenging?

The most rewarding part of my job is building connections and being the comfort on someone’s worst day. I think it is so important right now to show the public that we are here for them. When I get the validation that someone trusts us, I feel rewarded. The most challenging part of this job is the current culture surrounding law enforcement. When your partners become family, it is
difficult to not take it personal if their intention in uniform is questioned.

Q: What advice would you have for a young woman considering going into law enforcement?

This career is a calling. If law enforcement is placed on your heart, do it. It is not easy, but if you keep a pure heart and you never forget why you started, your service will be rewarding.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I like to be with my family. If there is one thing this job has taught me, it is that life is short, and I do not want to miss any moment being with the people I love.

Aimee Sebesta

SebestaAimee.jpg
Aimee Sebesta

Aimee Sebesta is a deputy with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. She moved to Minnesota from South Dakota in 2017 to attend the Alexandria Technical and Community College.

While in college, she worked as a first responder for Parkers Prairie Ambulance.

During her second year as a law enforcement student, she said she was lucky enough to land a job at the Douglas County Jail working as a correctional officer.

She was a correctional officer for a year and a half before being hired on as a deputy. She has loved her job ever since.

Q: How long have you been with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and what are your current duties?

A: I have been with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office since the beginning of 2019. As a deputy, I am responsible for patrolling the county, responding to emergency calls, handling day-to-day calls, investigating crime, enforcing the law, but most importantly protecting and serving the citizens of Douglas County.

Q: Why did you want to become a law enforcement officer or what drew you to this career path?

A: What ultimately made me want to go into law enforcement was my school resource officer I had in high school. Officer Bayne knew how to make a bad day turn good.

Q: What part of your job is the most rewarding and what part is the most challenging?

Probably the most rewarding thing to me is when people say “thank you,” and are satisfied with how I helped handle a situation. The most challenging thing is when I can’t help someone, and I start second guessing everything I did.

Q: What advice would you have for a young woman considering going into law enforcement?

To all the females thinking about going into this career field. IT. IS. WORTH. IT. Even though you feel like you don’t fit in at times, you do. You deserve to be in this job just as much as anyone else. Focus on your craft and have tunnel vision on being the best officer you can be. Stay humble.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Activities I thoroughly enjoy on my days off are hunting, fishing, spending time with family and friends. Being a South Dakota girl at heart, I can’t turn down a walk in the field for a pheasant.

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She 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 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
What to read next
The family-oriented traveling holiday show on Dec. 6 will feature past and present performers from the acclaimed Medora Musical.
The bat, once common across northern Minnesota forests, has been decimated by white-nose syndrome.
The flag issue began when a resident contacted the City of Alexandria after noticing several incidents of people displaying the flag contrary to city code.
The developer wants to increase the amount of units from 70 to 101.