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Sheriff's reserve officers retire, are honored for their service

WILLMAR -- Five reserve officers for the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's office have retired and were recently honored for their years of service to the volunteer program.

Reserve officers who retired at the end of 2009 included Floyd Portenga, of Lake Lillian, who served 48 years, since the sheriff's reserve program began, according to Chief Deputy Randy Kveene.

Bill Welker, of Willmar, retired with 33 years of service, along with Terry Slagter, of Blomkest, with 28 years, and Eugene Dragt, of Renville, with 28 years. Roger Brouwer, of Prinsburg, retired in January with 23 years of service.

The sheriff's reserve is a volunteer organization, Kveene said, that assists the KCSO deputies at events such as the Fourth of July parade in Spicer, the Sonshine Festival in Willmar and the Kandiyohi County Fair. Officers also provide security or parking assistance for events such as the annual ag show and graduation at Ridgewater College.

The 22 officers in the reserve spent 1,861 hours volunteering in 2009, including time spent at events, on ride-alongs with deputies, and in training and attending meetings.

The sheriff's office takes applications to be in the reserve all year long, Kveene said. The applications are reviewed each fall and applicants are interviewed and background checked before they can begin training during the winter months.

Official requirements include being a county resident and having a clean criminal record, but Kveene notes that having an understanding spouse or significant other is also helpful, as reserve officers volunteer about 100 hours per year.