Recognition and Welcome for Sheriff's Department Staff

Updated: July 11, 2019 06:21 PM

A good day for the St. Louis County Sheriff's department, as the sheriff welcomed in new staff and praised those who've done amazing work.


Five new deputies took the oath, along with six new corrections officers. New clerical and dispatch staff got a round of applause and acknowledgement as well. Family and friends filled the room at the Public Safety Building in Duluth.

One of the new deputies, Dante Pettinari, said to spend this day with family and administration and co-workers was an honor. "I've had a lot of jobs that have lead me to where I am today. This is the pinnacle of my education and job and career. And I couldn't be more proud of doing that with St. Louis County."

He said in the past six months, the bonds between co-workers have become really strong. "They become a second family."

Sheriff Ross Litman also recognized several of his staff for their outstanding work under pressure. One was Deputy Pete Olsen, who's helped save two suicidal people in the past two years. "I'm jealous of you," Litman said. "We take these jobs to serve and protect people, and you've done so, twice, successfully," he said.

Another life-saver was a long-time corrections officer, Bill Plachta, who heard the scraping of a chair on the floor, and found an inmate who had tried to hang himself.

Others recognized include three women from dispatch. Two worked the domestic case that lead to the shooting of K-9 Haas, Courtney Houser and Amanda Vollmer.

"Courtney was quickly able to gather information, without having the caller say a single word," Litman said. "Amanda was able to quickly dispatch police officers, after being notified of shots fired and officer hit. For us in public safety, no other words elicit the level of distress and reaction that an officer needs help does."

And Sarah Kemp was recognized for her work during the chaotic officer-involved shooting in Hermantown.

Finally, words of praise and gratitude for the radio shop guys, for their tireless work in keeping the communications running.

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