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Clay County Sheriff Bergquist will not seek re-election

Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist, first elected in 2002, will not seek another term. Dave Olson / The Forum

MOORHEAD – Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist, who was first elected in 2002 and has a career in law enforcement spanning almost 40 years, will not seek another term.

Bergquist made the announcement to his staff in an email Tuesday, Feb. 6, and will step down when his term ends at the end of the year. He wrote that it’s time to enjoy “a slower pace of life and spending more time with my grandchildren, family and friends.”

As for any other retirement plans, "My wife will tell me," he said in an interview.

Before becoming sheriff, Bergquist was a police officer in Glyndon, Dilworth and Moorhead, where he was a DARE officer for 12 years. He also served as a member of the Clay County Police Reserves and has been a member of the volunteer Dilworth Fire Department for many years.

He received his law enforcement training at Alexandria Technical College and Minnesota State University Moorhead, and also received specialized training sponsored by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the FBI.

Bergquist succeeded Larry Costello as Clay County sheriff. Costello, who chose not to run in 2002 for health reasons, had become embroiled in a sex scandal with one of his deputies.

As sheriff, Bergquist made himself accessible 24 hours a day. “I was born wanting to be a cop,” he told The Forum in a 2003 interview.

With the growth of the county’s population over the years, Bergquist said he’s noticed an increase in crime.

"Every year, it seems like there's more and more violence," he said. "It's just different. Back in the day, you could have a little more fun, but not anymore. It's all work."

Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney has also announced that he will not seek another term.

WDAY-TV contributed to this report.