ST. CLOUD -- The former leader of the Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force has announced his bid to be the next Stearns County Sheriff.  Steve Soyka is the third man to announce they are running for the job.

Waite Park Police Chief Dave Bentrud was the first to announce he was running. Lieutenant Robert Dickhaus has also announced his candidacy.

Soyka is the current Team Commander for the Stearns-Benton County SWAT unit and is a former Commander of the Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force. He is also currently a Sergeant serving in the Stearns County Sheriff Patrol Division.

Soyka previously received the Stearns County Life Saving medal for his actions in the line of duty, and also received the Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police Grand Lodge Life Saving Award for the State of Minnesota.

Former longtime Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner retired last year.  The Stearns County Board hired Don Gudmundson to fill the remainder of Sanner's term, creating an open seat for this November's election.