A former commander of the Violent Offenders Task Force announced his candidacy Saturday for Stearns County Sheriff.
Steve Soyka, a lifelong resident of Stearns County, has 27 years of experience in law enforcement. Soyka worked for five years in the Benton County Sheriff's Office and has worked in the Stearns County Sheriff's Office for 22 years.
He is a sergeant in the patrol division and is the team commander for the Stearns-Benton County SWAT unit.
As sheriff, Soyka said he would work to improve communication between the sheriff's office and the residents of the county.
He will focus on a community-oriented approach to policing, he said, and plans to examine ways to reach out to schools in Stearns County, such as starting up a school resource program.
A few of Soyka's goals include reducing the spread of drugs and crime and effectively managing the sheriff's office's resources.
"One of my big things is to get out of the office and talk to people on a more regular basis," Soyka said. "I want to have an open-door policy with the public."
Soyka was born and raised in St. Cloud and believes his familiarity with the county and experience in law enforcement allows him to understand what is happening in the community.
"I've seen the way Stearns County used to be and where it is now," he said.
Soyka attended Cathedral High School and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in criminal justice. He has been awarded the Stearns County lifesaving medal and the Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police Grand Lodge Life Saving Award for the state of Minnesota.
Read more here: https://www.sctimes.com/story/news/local/2018/03/03/former-task-force-commander-run-stearns-county-sheriff/390976002/