Come Saturday, there will be a new sheriff in town.
At midnight on that morning, newly elected sheriff Steve Kukowski will officially assume the duties of the office he was elected to in November.
And though Kukowski is no stranger to many of the people in Minot and in the county, many people who have never had any reason to deal with a member of the city's police force will find themselves doing business with a 30-plus year veteran of law enforcement.
Dave Caldwell/MDN •
Sheriff-elect Steve Kukowski works on a food basket for the Salvation Army Wednesday at the Minot State University Dome.
Kukowski said there will no doubt be an adjustment period at the sheriff's office when he takes over.
"Everyone has their own style of management and leadership," he said. "I'm sure mine is a little different than the present sheriff (Vern Erck). But we'll all get through it.
"I had a meeting with the entire staff of the sheriff's office and said, 'You've all got a job.' I see hardly any changes at all."
Kukowski said that he had no objections to Erck filling a couple of new deputy positions just weeks before leaving office.
Kukowski said he did change the command structure of the department to a configuration that closely resembles that of the Minot Police Department.
"There is no chief deputy," he said. "They will have three captains, one in charge of the jail, one in charge of training and a couple of civil process (deputies), and one in charge of patrol and investigations."
Kukowski said he was not sure of the future of Todd Keller, a 20-year veteran of the sheriff's department who opposed Kukowski in the election, garnering roughly 49 percent of the vote.
"I have not spoken to Todd or heard from him," he said. "He had not asked for a job or to stay on, or anything like that."
Since the election, Kukowski said he has been wrapping up his cases with the police department and transferring things like grant work to his successor, as Capt. Jason Olson will assume Kukowski's former duties as operations commander.
Near the top of Kukowski's agenda is a restructuring of the county's police reserve, which will be taking on a more prominent role in county law enforcement affairs, he said Wednesday as he took a break from helping prepare food baskets for the Salvation Army.
"We need to get them the equipment that they need," he said. "They're a very valuable resource. We need to welcome them with open arms and build on them, because we just do not have enough manpower with the increase in the oilfields and the increase in Air Force traffic, and the volume of calls that we are going to have."
Kukowski said the increase in violent crime is somewhat to be expected with the influx of population.
"The more people you have, the more crime you're going to have," he said. "We're going to have to walk before we run, and see where we're at with everything and see just how much we have to build on."