New Sheriff has big shoes to fill

When Ward County voted to send Robert Roed into the county sheriff’s role, they were clearly making a choice for change, as local voters have often done in the past couple of years.

Voters opted strongly for Roed over former sheriff Bob Barnard.

Barnard had a long history with the department. Additionally, he was promoted after the scandal- and inefficiency-plagued administration of Sheriff Steve Kukowski. Prior to Barnard’s ascension, the Ward County Jail was a model of inefficiency. It was overcrowded beyond the point of being operationally functional by state regulations; at least one inmate died as a result of lack of medical attention as a result of operations there; and complaints were regular.

Following Kukowski’s pressured resignation, Barnard was named sheriff. Barnard spent most of his career with the department in the Patrol Division and had clean hands when it came to the shoddy operation of the jail.

Barnard demonstrated that those hands were steady in the time after his promotion. Massive improvements at the jail transformed an embarassment to the community into a model for other similar facilities.

Robert Roed received the Oath of Office for the position of Ward County sheriff from Judge Todd Cresap late Monday afternoon. Roed officially began his duties at midnight Monday. The former captain replaces Barnard, whom he defeated in the general election last November.

Following service in the Marines from 1985-89, Roed attended the Lake Region Law Enforcement Academy in Devils Lake. He began his career with the Ward County Sheriff’s Office in 1990 when he was assigned to the jail. Roed was promoted to patrol deputy in 1992, to sergeant in 2000, lieutenant in 2003 and captain in 2015.

Roed’s qualifications and experience are clear and impressive.

Still, given the roller coaster of a ride the jail has taken county taxpayers on the past few years, it is no small task to replace Barnard.

Minot Daily News wishes Roed the best in his new position and hopes he will maintain the new standards at the department and the jail.