Republican Kevin Bygd won the election for Dunn County Sheriff Tuesday night with 9,705 votes, all 36 precincts reporting at midnight.
Bygd edged out Democrat Rod Dicus, who got 8,619 votes, according to the unofficial Dunn County election results.
Bygd, 48, is the captain of field services for the sheriff’s office and has worked for the office for 29 years.
He will be sworn in in January when longtime Sheriff Dennis Smith retires. Smith announced in April that he would not seek reelection to the position he’s held since 2000; he endorsed Bygd in October.
“I was comfortable with where I was at, but I knew it was going to be a close race,” Bygd said of the election. “My opponent Rod (Dicus) is a very nice guy, very likeable guy and I knew he would have voters out to support him.”
Dicus, 55, has had a 32-year career with the sheriff’s office and works as an investigator and DARE officer.
For Bygd, finding a replacement captain of field services will be the first order of business in January. That will mean filling positions through the ranks of the office.
“There’ll be some significant movement,and as much as we as humans don’t like change, I think the department as a whole is looking forward to new ideas and some movement,” Bygd said.
Next, he plans to become more familiar with the office as a whole.
“I’ve had my pulse on the law enforcement side of the sheriff’s office for years now, running that as the captain,” Bygd said. “I need to focus on the jail, work with the jail staff and become more familiar with the current jail operations ... The jail is the highest-liability portion of the sheriff’s office.”
Bygd thanked his supporters for their work during the race.
“I’m excited to take on the challenges that come with this,” he said Thursday.