A 26-year veteran of the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office announced his candidacy for sheriff on Monday morning.

Brian Mueller, one of the two chief assistants, announced his candidacy for the Rushmore Hotel as Sheriff Kevin Thom watched.

“He is clearly ready to take the head of the office,” said the sheriff. “He understands that it is essential to keep our community safe and that we engage with our community to resolve issues or issues in our community.”

Jill Jegeris, the wife of former Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris, attended the announcement and said Mueller had the support of her family. Scull Construction CEO Jim Scull said he was part of Mueller’s campaign. County staff which included Health and Human Services Director Barry Tice, Deputy Chief Willie Whelchel of the Sheriff’s Office and Civilian Deputy Chief Jay Alderman of the Pennington County State Attorney’s Office were also in attendance at the announcement.

Black Hills Harley-Davidson owner Jim Burgess and Casey Peterson, founder of financial advisory firm Casey Peterson, Ltd., also expressed their support for Mueller.

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A second candidate has announced his intention to run for sheriff on a website.

Ryan Mechaley is a former State Highway Patrol officer who grew up in New Underwood. According to his website, he received support from Pat Jones, a member of the Rapid City Council, as well as several residents of Pennington County.

During his announcement, Mueller said that since he’s a longtime employee of the Sheriff’s Office, he can immediately get down to business as the next sheriff.

“We are doing this job right now every day to keep Pennington County safe,” he said. “We have challenges in Pennington County, but I am committed to finding solutions. “

Mueller, 47, started working in the sheriff’s office when he was 21. He was chief deputy for 11 years under Thom. The two chief assistants are responsible for personnel, budget and operations in their divisions.

“I think every day in this profession is a challenge,” Mueller said. “What I really appreciate about doing this work here in South Dakota, right here in West South Dakota, in Pennington County, is our community support. It never wavered.

Mechaley said in a press release his decision to run was driven by high crime rates and the negative image some have of law enforcement.

“In the madness of the current moment of police funding and constant allegations of racism and political wrangling, America is losing sight of the basic function of law enforcement,” he said on his report. website. “When the focus becomes more than the safety of the law-abiding public, the system is broken. Law enforcement is about justice. No social justice.

He also said running for sheriff was a chance to bring “new blood” to the office and end “a long tradition of predecessors choosing their successors in an almost royal line of appointment.”

Neither Mueller nor Mechaley filed their nominations with the Pennington County Auditor’s Office on Monday afternoon. Candidates must submit their file before the last Tuesday in March to be on the June 7 ballot.

Thom has served as Pennington County Sheriff since 2011. His term expires December 31.

Deputy Chief Brian Mueller announced his candidacy for the post of Pennington County Sheriff on Monday morning.

– Contact Siandhara Bonnet at [email protected]

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