Rose to seek another term as sheriff
Acknowledging that the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office was a “broken” agency four years ago, Sheriff Scott Rose has focused on repairing the damage during his first term as the county’s top law enforcer.
It proved to be a painful transition for Rose, as he walked into a department struggling to trust the administration, reeling from the on-duty death of a captain, and grappling with overall morale issues. And to top things off they had just experienced a “very stressful,” as Rose called it, election year, pitting an incumbent sheriff against Rose, a veteran of the sheriff’s office.
“It affects everything,” Rose said during a candid interview last week. “Productivity, morale and work performance. A stressful election year becomes such a distraction to the department, and it concerns me that the distraction can cause safety issues.”
In announcing his bid for re-election this fall, Rose said he is hoping for a much smoother campaign this time around. He is hoping residents will see what positive changes his team has implemented over the past four years and know that the sheriff’s office is no longer broken like it was in 2014.
The sheriff smiles these days as many of his counterparts in other police jurisdictions often chide him about how rosy things are in Dodge County.
“It has been a good run,” Rose says. “We’ve accomplished a lot in the last four years.”
Rose said one of the keys to his success over the past four years has been surrounding himself with good leaders. Just after he took office, Rose reinstated Mike Leonhardt as chief deputy. The previous sheriff had fired Leonhardt over concerns of loyalty.
“To me that was huge for his experience and for his leadership to help build the morale back up in the office,” Rose said of bringing back Leonhardt.
Teamwork is another important characteristic that Rose has leaned on during his tenure to turn things around.
“We have created an environment where everyone can work together,” he said. “We’re pulling from everyone’s strengths and having them work together. Everyone has stepped up and done a great job.”
Rose prides himself on providing his staff with the tools and training to see them grow and develop into leaders.
“To me it’s a reward just to see the growth,” he said. “I enjoy the leadership aspect of the job. Leadership to me is about developing future leaders.”
Over the past four years Rose has focused on developing a working environment that is “warming, welcoming and supportive.” He also wants the sheriff’s office to be a family environment.
“We’ve developed an atmosphere where people want to stay,” he said, noting he has hardly any turnover with his full time staff. He often jokes about how his employees don’t stick around because of the money, as many surrounding agencies pay significantly more than Dodge County.
A few of the most significant changes within the office since 2014 have been the upgrading of the dispatch center and court security improvements.
Rose referred to the 911 center as “very antiquated” when he took over. He said the improvements made within dispatch have brought it up to the level of any other center in the region.
The security enhancements, Rose said, have been huge in protecting everyone who comes into the courthouse.
“We have a court security system in place that the state has recognized as a model for other counties,” he said. “That’s quite a compliment for a small county like ours.”
Rose complimented county officials with helping him restructure the sheriff’s office in recent years.
“The county board is open and receptive to recognizing the needs of our office,” he said. “We are very fortunate to have a good relationship (with the board).”
Within the past few months, Rose initiated a chaplaincy program for the county involving nine area clergy members. He is excited about growing the program even more in the coming years.
Even though Rose grew up in a law enforcement family, as his father was a deputy, he said he had no intentions of being a cop and certainly never envisioned being the sheriff.
Rose had a radio and music career focused on sales and marketing for several years before switching to police work.
He has found a lot of parallels between his previous career and law enforcement.
“The skills I learned in the business world have helped me now on the administrative side,” he said. He added the skills of customer service and budgeting he previously learned are especially beneficial in his present job.
Rose said he wants the public to view his office as approachable, community-oriented and family-oriented. But perhaps mostly he wants citizens to be trusting of the sheriff’s office.
“I hope people will trust the work we do,” he said, noting how his staff members are dedicated to the office and the community they serve. “They take ownership in their community. To them it’s not a job.”
With Dodge County projected to grow by 20 percent in the next 20 years, Rose said his office is positioned well for future growth.
“Dodge County is a great place to live, and it’s a safe place to live,” he said, adding his office will be as proactive as possible to keep crime at a minimum.
Rose has set up a website at www.roseforsheriff.com for this year’s campaign.