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Erik Burgess, Published June 15 2012

Laney named sheriff of year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney doesn’t often run out of things to say.

“He’s always going 100 miles a minute. He is always thinking, and trying to find the next thing,” Sgt. Kevin Volrath of the Fargo Police Department said, laughing. “And there are times where you’re just like, ‘What exactly are you talking about here, Paul?’ ”

Laney, however, was speechless when he was notified he will be the 2012 recipient of the Ferris E. Lucas National Sheriff of the Year Award, given out annually by the National Sheriffs’ Association.

“I don’t always let a lot of grass grow, and I keep moving fast because people count on us to be good,” Laney said Friday from Nashville, where the award is to be presented. “But for that certain moment of time, I was brought to a screeching halt.”

Cass County Sheriff’s Office officials say Laney is the first sheriff from North Dakota to receive the prize, which was established in 1995. The award will be given out Sunday as a part of the National Sheriffs’ Association summer conference.

The ceremony begins at 7 p.m. Sunday. An official within the department said 30 other Cass County Sheriff’s Office employees are present at the conference.

Laney, who was sworn in as Cass County sheriff in 2007, called the award “one of the greatest honors” of his career, but he was also quick to mention the support and hard work from the rest of his office.

“I totally look at this as a ‘we,’ not a ‘me,’ award. I just do,” he said. “I am so honored and humbled, but I haven’t forgotten the men and women of this department. I am just the face and name on the award.”

Laney joined the National Sheriff’s Association in 2009 and said his membership helped him learn how to better serve as sheriff. He attributed the award to the positive reception his sheriff’s office received following flood-fighting and life-preserving efforts in the past few years in the Red River Valley.

Laney began his police work with the Fargo Police Department in 1989. Volrath, who started in 1986, said Laney always gives 100 percent on every call.

“From day one, there was never a doubt that his heart was in law enforcement,” Volrath said.

Laney said he hopes the award will bring more positive attention to Cass County and to his staff as a model sheriff’s office.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518