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Two announce bids for Cass County sheriff

Two law enforcement officials have announced their intention to seek election as Cass County sheriff.

Current Sheriff Randy Fisher has announced that he will retire at the end of his term, which expires in December.

Walker Police Chief Wayne "Bubba" Tennis and Cass County Deputy Sheriff Chris Thompson have announced that they will run for Fisher's position.

Tennis has been with the Walker Police Department for 20 years, having served the last four years as chief, according to an article that appeared in the Brainerd Dispatch newspaper.

He told the newspaper he decided to run after hearing Fisher's retirement plans.

"I thought it would be a good opportunity for me," Tennis told the newspaper. "It's broadening your horizons. With Walker, I've been here so long. I want to get down to the Pillager and Lake Shore areas and get to know those people instead of just keeping myself here. It's a bigger challenge for me."

Thompson has been employed with the Cass County Sheriff's office for 13 years, according to a press release. He has worked as a corrections officer in the Detention Center, a dispatcher, boat and water deputy and patrol deputy. Thompson also serves as the commander of the Cass County Emergency Response Unit.

"I really am fortunate to have worn all of the hats that I have," he said in the release. "Each position has been unique and has taught me the skills to better serve the public. Since making it to the patrol division I have patrolled all three of the patrol districts in Cass County, which really opened my eyes to the wide diversity (of) our county."


According to his website,

Tennis graduated from Park High School in Cottage Grove, Minn., in 1986. He then attended North Dakota State School of Science and Brainerd Community College, graduating with an associate's degree. Afterwards, he joined the police academy at Hibbing Community College.

In 1995, Tennis attended a 13-week K-9 training course in Minneapolis. In 2007 he attended the Chief Law Enforcement Officer Academy.

Tennis received the Walker Community Champion award in 2002. In 2005, he received the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Achievement Award for the Great Lakes Region.

He is a member of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, Minnesota Police & Peace Officers Association, Arrowhead Law Enforcement Association, former member of the Sheriffs Mounted Posse of Cass County, WHA Safety Board and Walker American Legion Spencer Ross Post 134.

His wife, Mary, has been employed since 1988 with the Cass County Sheriff's Office and currently is the jail program coordinator. Tennis has one daughter, Samantha Tennis, and two stepchildren, Garrett and Kayla Anderson.

Thompson, in a press release, said he has devoted the majority of his adult life to protecting the residents and visitors of Cass County.

He said he holds the sheriff's position in the highest regard, and would work closely with local area agencies.

"I am an intelligent, capable leader who knows the value of a dollar," he said, noting that he would be fiscally responsible. "I look forward to being at the helm of the Sheriff's Office for many years to come. I have wanted to be the sheriff of Cass County since the day I started working here."

Thompson holds an Associate in Applied Science degree from Hibbing Community College and is licensed with the Minnesota Board of Police Officer Standards and Training. He is a certified instructor in numerous police-related categories and said he trains hundreds of officers/cadets each year during in-service training and academies.

Thompson is a lifelong Cass County resident. He is a 1994 graduate of Walker-Hackensack-Akeley High School. He lives in the Walker area with his wife, Katie, a social worker with Cass County Social Services and their three children, Matthew, Maggie and Maya.