Both candidates for Polk County sheriff – current Sheriff Barb Erdman is not seeking another term – are longtime Polk County Sheriff’s Office staff members who made it clear during Monday’s Meet the Candidates Forum at UMC that they bring a lot of experience to the table. Here’s a summary of their remarks, and a notable quote for each:

    Randy Sondrol: He grew up on a farm in the Climax and Buxton area and now lives on a hobby farm in Erskine. He’s been in law enforcement 28 years, with 24 of them at the PCSO. He’s been in patrol, investigations, narcotics, boat and water, and is now the patrol supervisor. One of his primary goals at the PCSO is retention of personnel, building bonds and bringing communities together. Over the years, he’s wanted to expose himself to as many aspects of the PCSO as possible. He’d like to see a certificate program at Northland Community and Technical College for dispatchers, so potential dispatchers are aware of the challenges of the job before they seek a position, go through training, and then find out the job is too much to handle. He thinks major challenges for the PCSO are drug use and abuse, and mental health issues. He said he’s wanted to be a sheriff since he chose a law enforcement career, and has taken on challenges over the years leading to his current opportunity. Notable quote: “I take the opportunities that are given to me, and then I give them back by being the best I can be.”

    Jim Tadman: Tadman has worked in a variety of capacities at the PCSO for 30 years and is now Erdman’s chief deputy. He is a volunteer firefighter and school board member in Erskine. He wants to continue to build on the PCSO’s successes and build relationships with schools, health agencies and county residents. He is most proud of the in-house training opportunities that he’s helped to bring to the PCSO over the years, which means deputies and staff don’t have to travel elsewhere for training for most aspects of their jobs. He said he’s learned how to work with policies and budgets by working closely with Erdman. Drug use and abuse and mental health challenges are a top priority, he said. He’d like to see School Resource Officers having a presence at some of the county’s smaller schools. Notable quote: “Residents want to feel safe. People are concerned about school safety. I’m well prepared to step in and hit the ground running and put safety first, just like the last 30 years.”