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Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson Takes 'Indefinite' Leave Of Absence

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Beleaguered Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson is taking a leave of absence "for the indefinite future," according to a spokesperson with the county. In his place, Chief Deputy Tracey Martin will assume charge of the office's operations.

The department says the reason for Hutchinson's leave is "health-related." The county spokesperson said the sheriff will still receive pay and benefits during his leave, as it's required by state law.

"Under the leadership of Chief Deputy Tracey Martin and the command staff, the men and women of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office remain committed to serving the residents of Hennepin County with professionalism, compassion and integrity," the sheriff's office said in a statement.

On Dec. 8, 2021, the embattled sheriff was involved in a high-speed rollover crash near Alexandria. After pleading guilty to fourth-degree misdemeanor drunken driving later that month, he was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay a $610 fine. He also agreed to pay the county $47,711.69 for the squad vehicle wrecked in the crash.

Hutchinson had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.13 -- almost twice the legal limit -- roughly three hours after the crash. He rolled his squad car, driving while unbelted, at one point reaching speeds of 126 mph, according to a trove of case files and evidence released. There were firearms in the car, according to documents.

Facing mounting calls to resign, Hutchinson said he will not seek reelection in November, but will serve out the rest of his term. At least two people -- Jai Hanson and Suwana Kirkland -- tossed their hats into the race. Hanson is a police officer for the city of Bloomington and Kirkland is the director for Dakota County Community Corrections, according to their Linkedin pages.

Meanwhile, state regulators are still weighing whether or not to suspend his peace officer license.

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