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Four mulling run for Clay County sheriff

MOORHEAD — The recent announcement that Bill Bergquist won't seek re-election as Clay County sheriff has triggered interest from at least four in his office who might seek the top job.

Deputy Scott Steffes, a veteran of almost 25 years in the office and 27 years in law enforcement, said he will run for sheriff.

"I've worked in Clay County for many years," Steffes said Thursday, Feb. 8. "This is my home and this is where I'd like to make my mark as sheriff of Clay County."

Steffes declined to say whether he would make any changes in the office if elected.

Lt. Mark Empting, a patrol lieutenant who has served 16 years with the office, also is running. He said he will officially announce his candidacy in a press conference on Friday, Feb. 9.

"In my position, I have supervisory and administrative duties," he said. Also, Empting is chief of the Dilworth Fire Department, which he said has given him experience in dealing with other public safety organizations and managing a budget.

If elected, Empting said he would work to "continue to advance our programs."

Detective Jason Hicks, who has been with the office for 11 years, also is running.

"I think I can bring a lot to the table as sheriff," he said. Besides his experience with the Sheriff's Office, Hicks said he has held leadership roles in the Army and Army National Guard, where he retired as an infantry platoon sergeant, and in veterans organizations, including the VFW and Patriotic Bodies.

"My philosophy is going to be teamwork with other agencies and the public," he said, adding that he would be transparent in his duties.

Sgt. Ryan Alderman said he is strongly considering a run, but wants more time to consult with his wife before making a decision. Alderman ran for the sheriff's office 3½ years ago, when Bergquist was elected to a fourth term. He started working at the Sheriff's Office in 1994.

"I just want to give her the consideration," Alderman said, given the demands of the office. "The scale for me personally is leaning in the direction of a run."

He added, noting Bergquist's long tenure in the office, "I think it's healthy for an organization to have some changes at the top."

Bergquist is retiring after almost four decades in law enforcement.

Patrick Springer

Patrick Springer first joined the reporting staff of The Forum in 1985. He can be reached by calling 701-241-5522. Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to

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