New Ramsey sheriff lays out early plans

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 3, 2010 - 9:18 PM

Bostrom said he will work more closely with city and suburban chiefs.

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Matt Bostrom’s supporters said the longtime St. Paul police officer was underestimated by Sheriff Bob Fletcher, who has served 16 years in the post.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

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Ramsey County Sheriff-elect Matt Bostrom doesn't start his job until Jan. 3, but fresh from his victory over incumbent Bob Fletcher, he met early Wednesday with an "action team" that will help him redefine the department and its policies and services.

That up-and-at-'em attitude is what helped him beat the four-term Fletcher by a double-digit margin Tuesday after nearly a year of carefully planned campaigning, Bostrom said.

"He believed he had enough name recognition" to beat me, Bostrom said. "We were very intentional."

Fletcher knocked on doors, held meet-and-greets and appeared at parades, but his campaign didn't have the same presence or reach as Bostrom's, perhaps not simply because he was an incumbent with 16 years under his belt, but because he underestimated his challenger's momentum, Bostrom supporters say.

"He probably didn't take us as seriously as he probably should've," said Bostrom's campaign spokesman, Randy Gustafson. "His campaign was old school, like he had always done, relying on his signs and relying on name identification."

Fletcher did not return calls seeking comment on Wednesday, but shortly after he conceded on Tuesday night, he said that he couldn't have done anything differently. "After 16 years, I'm sure some voters just thought it was time for a change," Fletcher said. "The DFL Party is a very formidable force in St. Paul."

Fletcher will return as a commander to the St. Paul police force, where he served 17 years.

Bostrom said he focused on an aggressive phone bank operation, earning endorsements from DFL leaders and promoting professionalism in light of controversies surrounding Fletcher.

He also campaigned with other candidates, including former St. Paul police Chief John Harrington and former St. Paul City Attorney John Choi, who won their races for state Senate and county attorney, respectively.

Expecting a tougher go outside of St. Paul, Bostrom alternated events between the city and the suburbs. Data about which precincts the candidates carried won't be available until later this week.

Bostrom, a St. Paul police commander with 28 years in the department, and Fletcher will meet next Wednesday to discuss the change in office.

Bostrom's "action team" includes Harrington, Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Rob Allen, White Bear Lake Police Chief Lynne Bankes, John Moore with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, St. Paul police commander Bill Martinez and St. Paul business owner Noucheng Xiong.

Bostrom said a key difference in his leadership will be more "interdependent" relationships between the sheriff and police chiefs.

Bostrom said he wants to hire people outside of the department to help carry out his vision. He said that would not involve layoffs.

"The way that we deliver services will look different," he said without divulging details. "I'm coming in with a different view."

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708

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