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Isanti County Correctional Officer Todd Rudquist (front, center) was honored as Correctional Officer of the Year by the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association. Pictured to his left is Sgt. Jill Folkema, who nominated him for the award, and on his right is Jackie Johnson. In the center are Jail Administrator Dennis Valentyn, Isanti County Sheriff Chris Caulk and Matt Sibley. In back are Commissioners Terry Turnquist, Dave Olsund, Mike Warring, Greg Anderson and Susan Morris. Photo by Rachel Kytonen

With someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty without ever being asked, it came as no surprise to the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office when one of their own was selected as Correctional Officer of the Year.

Todd Rudquist was honored as Correctional Officer of the Year by the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association in September and was recognized for his achievement during the Isanti County Board meeting Oct. 2.

Rudquist has been with the sheriff’s office for nine years and was nominated for the award by Sgt. Jill Folkema. Folkema said Rudquist always comes to work with a positive attitude and arrives at least 20 minutes early to the start of his shift.

“Todd is a team player if there ever was one. He will actually push people aside to get to whatever is going on and insist on being part of it. If anyone needs assistance, they barely get the call out on the radio before Todd sprints down the hall (if they have to ask him at all),” Folkema said. “He usually is able to see when/if someone is going to need help before they know it themselves. Todd willingly puts other tasks aside when there is something that needs immediate attention rather than asking someone else to assist. He will often volunteer to take on a task, even if he has several others in process.”

Folkema said Rudquist takes on extra duties without hesitation, such as maintenance on transport vehicles or helping with electronic issues. She said if he ever has some spare time, he’s always asking for more work to do.

“If there is a decision to be made, he’s more than willing to make the call. If there’s no management on duty, Todd will take care of it without hesitation,” Folkema said. “If there is a situation at hand that requires a decision from management, he will present the situation along with options and his opinions along with the decision he would make, and more often than not, it isn’t any different from my decision.”

Folkema said Rudquist is a true joy to work with.

“Todd’s professionalism both on and off duty is beyond admirable and is as well liked in our community as he is at work. Todd volunteers a lot of time at his church during his time off, running the sound system. When dealing with the worst of inmates, Todd is always professional, but he gets the job done using a firm but fair stance with them.

“He’s honest, courteous to everyone and an employee that always wants to do the right thing, even if it takes extra time. Todd is very respectful to his superiors and even if he doesn’t agree with a decision, he goes along with it and does whatever he’s told to do without questioning it,” Folkema added.

Isanti County Sheriff Chris Caulk explained Rudquist received the award during the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association Jail Administrators’ Conference, and it’s a statewide award amongst all the correctional officers who work in county jails.

“This is a true reflection of strong county work force, and we sometimes forget that our constituents might be actually inmates and they deserve professional treatment — the help that they need to hopefully get out, not come back,” Caulk said. “Unfortunately it does become a revolving door for a lot, but it’s because of Todd’s professionalism and his willingness to step forward that there are ones that will make that change.

“I thank you, Todd, for your hard work and your dedication, as well as the rest of the folks here from the jail. They don’t get recognized enough, but they are truly a very important cog in the wheel, and without them we wouldn’t be able to offer the services that we are required statutorily and just morally obligated to provide.”

“Thank you, we appreciate all the hard work you’re doing,” said Chair Mike Warring.

Board Member Susan Morris congratulated Rudquist, as well as thanked Folkema for taking the time to write such a thoughtful nomination.

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