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Renville County, Minn., recognizes sheriff's deputy for community policing

Renville County Sheriff Scott Hable, right, pins a medal on Sheriff's Deputy Sam Olson's uniform during a ceremony Tuesday in Olivia. Olson was recognized for his community-oriented policing efforts as the first recipient of the Chris Domeier award in the county. (Tribune photo by Tom Cherveny)

OLIVIA -- Sheriff's Deputy Sam Olson has no hesitation when asked what he likes most about his job.

"Putting on the uniform,'' said Olson.

"I don't like my job, I love my job,'' he said.

Olson's enthusiasm for his role as a Renville County sheriff's deputy was recognized on Tuesday, when Sheriff Scott Hable presented him with the first Chris Domeier Community Oriented Policing Award.

Sheriff Hable intends to present the award annually to recognize a law officer in the county for practicing community-oriented policing, and to remember Domeier. He died June 16, 2010, at age 30. Domeier was known throughout Renville County for the way he interacted with the public in his role as an officer, according to Sheriff Hable.

The sheriff said Deputy Olson also understands the important balance that Domeier knew between working with the public and enforcing the law.

He described Olson as someone known both for "his compassion to serve, and his courage to protect."

Olson, 28, is an Olivia native. He said he has wanted to be a law officer since age 7. He started working with the Renville County Sheriff's Office in 2002 as a dispatcher and corrections officer in the jail while attending Ridgewater College. He began his law enforcement career in 2004 with the Bird Island Police Department and shortly after with the Renville County Sheriff's Office.

Olson was a friend of Domeier, and took his badge number when he accepted his current position.

Like Domeier, Olson is involved in a wide variety of activities involving the public, everything from working with elementary students to helping the Students Against Drunk Driving chapters. He's a firearms instructor and member of the multi-county SWAT team.

He said he loves everything about the job, "and more.'' "It's amazing how many people you meet on a daily basis and the hand you can offer and change lives,'' he said.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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