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Hodapp will not seek re-election as Beltrami County Sheriff

BEMIDJI -- Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp announced Monday he will not seek a fourth term in this fall’s election.

“The opportunity to serve as Sheriff of this great county has been the most gratifying experience in my 42 years of law enforcement,” Hodapp wrote in a release. “I am proud of what we have accomplished during my time in this elected position.”

Hodapp, 61, plans to complete his term through the remainder of 2018. He said he encouraged Chief Deputy Ernie Beitel to run to replace him, and believes Beitel plans to.

“Beitel has been instrumental in the operation and strategic planning in the Sheriff’s Office,” the release said. “Ernie is well respected in Northern Minnesota’s law enforcement community. His experience and leadership has been invaluable to me and the citizens of Beltrami County.”

Hodapp was first elected to the post in 2006, but has lived and worked in the area for more than 30 years.

Though he began his law enforcement career in Amarillo, Texas -- a city with a population more than 13 times that of Bemidji -- Hodapp eventually chose to move to a smaller town. After he landed a job with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in 1985, Hodapp, along with his wife and two young children, settled in Turtle River.

During his time with the BCA, Hodapp was a chief investigator in the 1999 murder and kidnapping of Duluth-area teen Katie Poirier and helped apprehend Donald Blom, who was convicted of the crime. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

“I’ve had a great career in law enforcement,” he said in an interview with the Pioneer. “I’ve spent my whole adult life as a law enforcement officer, and now I guess I felt like it was time to step aside and let someone younger than me take the reins.”

Beitel started his career at the Glenwood Police Department in 1984 and first joined the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Department in 1995. He’s been chief deputy here since 2012.

Hodapp told the Pioneer that his last day on the job will be Dec. 31, after which he plans to focus on his family.

“The main thing that I plan on doing is spending more time with my family,” Hodapp said. “Both my wife and I want to spend more time with our children and our grandchildren, that’s basically kind of where we’re at in our lives right now.”