ST. CLOUD -- New Stearns County Sheriff Steve Soyka took the ceremonial Oath of Office Tuesday morning during the Stearns County Board of Commissioner's meeting.

Soyka was elected to the post in November after interim Sheriff Don Gudmundson chose not to run for election.

Soyka is a 27-year veteran of the Stearns County Sheriff's Office and former Commander of the Violent Offender Task Force.  He says those experiences have given him the knowledge and tools to lead the department.

Soyka says drugs and mental illness play a big role in law enforcement today.  It has changed the way they conduct training including how to de-escalate situations where a person may be in crisis.

One of Soyka's goals is to increase transparency within the sheriff's office and get out into the community more to interact with residents on comments and concerns.

Soyka has not yet chosen his Chief Deputy Sheriff. He says that decision should be coming in the weeks ahead.