Walker appoints Knudson St. Croix County sheriff

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Scott Knudson, who served as second in command at the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office under John Shilts, was appointed Wednesday to succeed the retiring chief.

Gov. Scott Walker announced the appointment of Knudson, a 21-year veteran of the sheriff’s office who has served as chief deputy for the past six years.

The Somerset resident has served in various roles in the agency, including deputy jailer, patrol deputy, patrol sergeant, patrol lieutenant and patrol captain before being appointed to second in command under Shilts, who retired July 14.

“Chief Deputy Knudson has demonstrated he has the skills and expertise to serve as an excellent sheriff for St. Croix County,” Walker said.

Knudson was one of two internal candidates, along with Capt. Dan VanSomeren, who sought the appointment. Candidates first faced an interview panel, with finalists undergoing an in-person interview with Walker.

“The whole process was a humbling experience for me with the support I have received,” Knudson said Wednesday. “I look forward to serving with the fine men and women of the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office and continuing to serve the citizens of St. Croix County.”

Accolades for Knudson rolled in from across the river, where Washington County Sheriff Dan Starry said his colleague is the right fit for the position.

“His leadership for strategic planning is second to none,” Starry said. “He has distinguished himself not only as a remarkable law enforcement officer but also as a leader in community relations and teamwork. Scott truly is a public servant at heart.”

As sheriff, Knudson said he plans to make opioid abuse and mental health issues two of his top priorities, along with ways to guard the public and law enforcement officers against emerging drugs like carfentanil.

“We need to continue to expand our vision of how we handle these difficult situations,” Knudson said.

He said he plans to seek election to the office in 2018. First, he’ll need to select his chief deputy, which he said he plans to come from within the agency. That decision should come “very soon,” Knudson said.