History of the Dakota County Sheriff's Office


In 1849, the County of Dakota was created as part of the original nine counties in Minnesota. The population at that time was more than 1,000 Native Americans and 149 white settlers. In 1853, A.R. French was appointed as the first Sheriff of Dakota County.


Citizens in Dakota County felt a need for a county jail, even before they felt the need to build a courthouse. Construction on the jail began in 1870. Construction of the courthouse began one year later, in 1871.


When the United States began to motorize, deputies could be seen patrolling the county on motorcycles, as well as automobiles.


The 1930's was an era of change in the county marked by violence and organized crime activity. These changes were felt by the law enforcement community beginning with the murder of Deputy Rudolph Fischer at the jail by a burglar he had earlier arrested. Leo Pavlak, a South St. Paul officer, was killed by a member of the notorious Ma Barker Gang. Deputies and the Hastings Police Chief chased John Dillinger's vehicle over the Spiral Bridge. One of Dillinger's gang members was killed by a Hastings police officer.


Dakota County has grown to be the third most heavily populated county in the State, following Hennepin and Ramsey counties. It is the fastest growing county (numerically) in the State of Minnesota. The Dakota County Sheriff's Office has grown to include nearly 200 employees.


Four-Year Terms

Tim Leslie2015 to current
Dave Bellows2010 to 2014
Don Gudmundson1995 to 2010
Rod Boyd1974 to 1994
C.L. "Chuck" Cherry1954 to 1974
Norman Dieter1938 to 1954
Joseph J. Heinen1934 to 1938
J. J. Dunn1918 to 1934
Michael Murnane1911 to 1918
James McDevitt1909 to 1911
Frank McDevitt1907 to 1909
J. J. Grisim1901 to 1907
John Hyland1889 to 1901
Hugh Connelly1883 to 1889
J. F. Newton1887 to 1883

Two-Year Terms

Stephen Newell1863 to 1887
Issac M. Ray1859 to 1863
John Devlin1855 to 1859
F. J. Barlett1853 to 1855 (first election)
Alpheus R. FrenchAppointed April 26, 1853




Last Reviewed: 4/1/2016
Last Updated: 4/11/2016

Quick Links


Dakota County Sheriff's Office

1580 Highway 55
Hastings, MN 55033

Emergency/Non-Emergency: 911