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Martens views new role as sheriff

By Staff | Nov 6, 2008

As the new Emmet County sheriff effective January, Mike Martens welcomes the promotion voters gave him Tuesday night from chief deputy.

Martens garnered 54.14 percent of the vote with 2,692 votes compared to 41.11 percent for Gene Haukoos with 2,044 votes and Morris Jorgensen with 224 votes for 4.51 percent.

In the same election, county voters approved a $1 increase in the monthly 911 surcharge by 61.69 percent with 2,676 voting for and 1,662 against the measure.

Martens said Wednesday the added funding will help boost the current system.

“Those dollars can be used for that if the board chooses to do so,” Martens said. “With the increase it will allow us to improve our situation.”

Martens, a veteran lawman with more than two decades of experience who began his career with the sheriff’s department, sees the vote as a seal of approval that he can take on the sheriff’s position now held by Larry Lamack who chose not to run for reelection.

“I think the citizens have confidence in me,” Martens said. “I think that’s obvious by the election results.”

Martens also addressed the issue of relations between the sheriff’s department and the Estherville Police Department.

“That is a major concern of mine,” Martens said. “We’ll continue to be a progressive, proactive department. The best way to stop crime is to prevent it.”

Martens noted the highly visible presence he has had in county schools and at other events as chief deputy.

“I’ve been real accessible to the citizens of this county,” Martens said. “I think it’s an awesome opportunity to work with the citizens, to work with the children in a positive light.”

“I want to thank the Democratic party for taking me under their wing. I want to thank my wife, my family in this effort,” said Martens. “I’m a people person and I’ll be glad to see things move forward.”

“I congratulate sheriff-elect Mike Martens,” Haukoos said Wednesday. “It’s through the democratic system that we have that the people have spoken. And we’ll move on.”

As manager of Estherville Ambulance Service and a member of the Emmet County 911 Board, Haukoos was glad the measure passed.

“I would like to thank the people for approving that,” Haukoos said. “It will help use with improving to a modern 911 system.”