In 1988, we were in the second term of the Reagan Administration, the Berlin Wall was still a year from coming down, fans of the Minnesota Twins were still celebrating their first World Series title in franchise history, the Internet wasn’t yet available to the public, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? dominated the box office and Guns N’ Roses topped the music charts with “Sweet Child o’ Mine.”
It was that same year that 22-year old Dan Anselment joined the Wright County Sheriff’s Office. This morning at the Feb. 23 meeting of the Wright County Board of Commissioners, Anselment was honored with a retirement plaque for his 33 years of service to the residents of Wright County.
Sheriff Sean Deringer presented the plaque, saying that Anselment has forged friendships with and earned the respect of generations of his law enforcement colleagues over the years – leaving a legacy that has made a lasting imprint on Wright County.
“I think we as leaders in the organization recognize that the No. 1 asset of any business or organization is our personnel,” Deringer said. “Today we celebrate 33 years of Captain Anselment being present. I think that it stands as a testament that we have former sheriffs in the room, former members of the command staff, family and friends.”
Anselment is one of only two current members of the Wright County Sheriff’s Office that was hired by iconic former Sheriff Darrell Wolff, who died in office in 1989 and is the longest-tenured member of the Sheriff's Office. Deringer said that every sheriff Anselment worked under has recognized his talent.
“Every sheriff (that followed) Sheriff Wolff saw value in Dan – what he was able to do and what he was able to accomplish,” Deringer said. “Sheriff (Don) Hozempa promoted him to sergeant. Sheriff (Gary) Miller promoted him to lieutenant. Sheriff (Joe) Hagerty promoted him to captain. I guess I’m the one that gets to kick him out the door.”
Deringer wasn’t the only one cracking jokes. Following the ceremony, Miller told Anselment why he promoted him, taking a page from Forrest Gump.
“The only reason I promoted you was so I was have a Lieutenant Dan on my staff,” Miller said with a chuckle.
While his colleagues affectionately kidded Anselment, there was a heartfelt friendship and respect that was reflected in the turnout at his plaque presentation. Deringer said it was because of the type of person Anselment has been in his professional life.
“Few people have the ability to really make others around them feel important,” Deringer said. “Dan’s always had that gift in our office. As I’ve talked about servant leadership, if you wanted to find it in a human and a leader, that’s always been Captain Anselment. He’s given a lot to our office and this is not going to be an easy position for us to replace and fill.”
With his 33 years in the Wright County Sheriff’s Office – the last 20 on the command staff – Anselment is twice the age of some of his newer co-workers, which has earned him the nickname of “Uncle Dan.” He has been a person just about everyone in the office could turn to with questions or advice because there wasn’t much he hasn’t seen over his tenure with the WCSO.
Anselment said he has been proud to work for Sheriff’s Office and fought to maintain his composure as he said his thanks for a work experience he wouldn’t have changed for the world.
“It’s been a good career,” Anselment said. “Living and growing up in a county that I got to serve for 33 years is amazing. Thank you for everybody allowing me to continue to work for Wright County. I love Wright County, I always will and I will always support the Sheriff’s Office. This has been my dream job.”
Hozempa joked that Anselment worked for five sheriffs in his tenure and was loyal to every one of them. But, at some point, he wants to find out which one was his favorite. But, he did get serious for a moment to express his gratitude for the extraordinary work Anselment did for the residents of Wright County and the equally extraordinary person he is.
“He was loyal – he bleeds brown, we all do in this room,” Hozempa said. “Dan you’ve done well. I’m proud of you and I know you’ll keep busy. You’re a talented, talented person outside of the Sheriff’s Office.”
Following a standing ovation from those in attendance, Anselment returned to the microphone to inform the commissioners, his soon-to-be former co-workers and his wife of his plans for retirement.
“The only promise I’ve made is that I’m growing a ponytail and getting a tattoo,” Anselment said with a smile. “We’ll see what happens.”
The retirement presentation can be seen here, starting at the 6:30 mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ5POcxJ0UA&feature=youtu.be