"One of the best sheriffs in the state."
Michael Campion, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, has known Itasca County Sheriff Pat Medure for more than 20 years and had nothing but high praise for Medure.
"Patrick has been a champion for northern Minnesota," Campion said by phone Thursday afternoon.
After a 33-year law enforcement career which started at the Keewatin Police Department as a patrol officer in 1978, then moved to the Itasca County Sheriff's Department in 1980, Medure - who was first elected sheriff in 1995 and served 16 years, is retiring. He announced his decision to retire during an Itasca County Board meeting in February 2010. His last day as sheriff is Monday, Jan. 3.
"I never guessed 33 years ago I'd be where I am today," Medure said.
Medure, who grew up in the small Iron Range town of Kinney, said he "always wanted to be a cop." But his law enforcement career almost ended as soon as it began.
Medure had applied for a job at the mines in the late 70s, back when the mines were booming. He was hired, but chose to stay in law enforcement.
"I'm glad I stuck it out," he said, smiling. "It's been very fulfilling."
Medure wasn't a sheriff who sat in his office during his tenure. His involvement spanned not only law enforcement, but other groups as well. On the law enforcement side, in addition to being a past president of both the Arrowhead Peace Officer's Association and the Minnesota Sheriffs Association, Medure has been involved in the National Sheriffs Association, the Minnesota Chiefs Association, the Itasca County 911 Users Group and chairs the Minnesota Sheriffs Association's 911 Communication Committee. On the non-law enforcement side, he has been involved in Ducks Unlimited, the National Rifle Association, the Grand Rapids Optimist Club, the Eagles Club, Advocates for Family Peace and the Western Mesabi Mine Planning Board, just to name a few organizations.
One group Medure has been very involved with is the Minnesota State Radio Board. Campion said Medure was a tremendous asset to that board, and to the state.
Itasca County, after nine years of work and planning, started using the 800 megahertz ARMER radio system last year. The county was the first in Northern Minnesota to implement the system which will eventually be in use state-wide.
"He's a very forward-looking sheriff," said Itasca County Chief Deputy Terry Snyder, a statement echoed by Campion.
Another project which Medure was involved in was the Itasca County TRIAD group, which started up in 1996. According to the county's website, Medure met with several members of area senior groups to discuss the TRIAD - The Right Information And Direction - concept of getting information to seniors to keep them "safe, healthy and in the know."
Medure also helped launch the now-annual DARE spaghetti feed fund. Funds from the fundraiser are used to take fifth grade DARE graduates from Itasca County to a Twins game every spring.
00020000036600000BC4�360,When asked about his accomplishments as sheriff, Medure refused to take any credit for himself.
"I was just one person at the table," Medure said, explaining that he has always believed in getting people at the table. "The more the better. We can accomplish great things with good partners."
He also gave "a lot of credit" to his staff for various projects.
"Everyone is at least one spoke of the wheel," Medure said. "A lot of credit is due to them."
Medure has always recognized the value of relationships, Campion said.
Snyder has worked with Medure for more than 25 years at the sheriff's office and said Medure's experience will be missed.
"There wasn't one day that he didn't think of his department and the citizens of this county," Snyder said, adding that decisions Medure made were based on the whole department and for the betterment of the community.
00020000042200000F24�41C,Snyder said one of the funniest memories he had of working with Medure was during an investigation of a rash of snowmobile thefts many years ago. Medure was an investigator and Snyder a patrol deputy at the time.
The two took snowmobiles from the impound lot, Snyder said. The idea was to use the impounded snowmobiles to try and catch the thieves. However, the plan, which Snyder said Medure masterminded, didn't go quite as planned.
They met up with the thieves, but the criminals hadn't read the script since they took off with the snowmobiles - which had already been stolen once, hence the reason they were in the impound lot.
So the sleds were stolen twice, Snyder said, laughing at the recollection. It did end well however. The snowmobiles were recovered and the thieves caught.
When Campion met Medure, he was an investigator with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension while Medure was an investigator for the sheriff's office. Campion said the BCA had tried to hire Medure as an investigator, but he opted to remain in Itasca County.
00020000054700001340�541,"Itasca County's gain was the BCA's loss," Campion said of Medure, adding that he is a "real contributor and a very fine man. He's very well thought of."
While Medure has enjoyed his career, one of the most difficult things he's had to do is notify people that a loved one has died. He estimated that since he's been sheriff, he's given 123 family notifications.
"Telling someone that a loved one died, that's one of the toughest things to do," Medure said somberly.
One honor Medure recently received was the 2010 President's Award from the Minnesota Sheriff's Association, an honor he also received in 2000. The plaque he was presented with read, in part, "who has given unselfishly of himself and his time for the sheriffs of the State of Minnesota."
Medure is the only sheriff to receive the award twice in the association's 125-year history, Snyder said.
Some time ago, someone told Medure that when it was time to leave, he would "just know." When he woke up that February morning, Medure said he just knew it was time.
"I'm looking forward to spending time with my granddaughter," he said, smiling again. "A couple home projects to finish. Just kick back and relax."
Medure said he'll miss the people and his co-workers, who he described as a second family.
"I've just enjoyed doing what I'm doing," Medure said. "I've been very blessed.