This part of the Soyka story brings us to the point in my career where I was promoted to detective medical examiner. I maintained this position for approximately 6 years. During those 6 years, I, along with 4 other detectives investigated mostly serious crimes or investigations that the patrol division either needed help on or had worked as far as they could. The crimes we investigated ranged from thefts, burglaries, and frauds to more serious crimes like criminal sexual conducts, assaults, missing persons and homicides. It was also our jobs at the time to maintain the property evidence room and log in and out any evidence seized.
Also during this time the Sheriff Office maintained a deputy medical examiner program in which we investigated all deaths that occurred in Stearns County. Each detective took a week of on call in which we were subject to calls 24 hours a day. We would respond to death scenes when called upon and the St. Cloud Hospital certainly kept us busy. During my time as a detective medical examiner I investigated hundreds of deaths ranging from natural deaths, car accidents, suicides, drownings, house fires, and homicides. These investigations were always important to me as these were someone’s family or friends, and they all deserve answers in some cases and dignity in all cases. It was always important to me to do the very best job I could for the families involved and to be there for them as needed.
This experience in both investigations and death investigations is important when running a county as large as Stearns County is. While the sheriff does not actively get involved in investigations in most cases I feel it is important to have this knowledge and experience, a “been there done that” type of attitude so that if need be, the experience can be called upon to assist the detectives in real world traumatic events. I also believe that training our investigators in the very latest investigative methods and equipment is important to successful conclusions and using a team approach to solve crime is key. As your Sheriff I have every intention of continuing training in the latest methods with our detectives so they can be the very best they can be. I also will promote communication between our Sheriff Office and other law enforcement agencies to assist them in their investigations when needed and to work closely with our partners in the local, state, and federal level when need be.