Davison County Sheriff Steve Brink to retire at end of April after eight years in top job
25-year law enforcement veteran says it's time for new blood
After more than 20 years in a patrol car for Davison County, Sheriff Steve Brink has announced his retirement, set to take place later this spring.
Brink, 67, will serve until April 30, he told the Davison County Commission during its regular board meeting Tuesday. He will retire after eight years as the county’s sheriff, and worked for 17 years as a sheriff’s deputy and was chief deputy under former Sheriff David Miles prior to being appointed sheriff.
Brink said that he’s thought about retirement for a while, and that it’s time for new blood and leadership to run the department. He also said that law enforcement is a job for young men and women, especially today.
“It’s just time,” he said. “At my age, “I don’t feel comfortable in what I might have to do (on the job) and I always told myself that when that comes, it’s time to step down, and that’s where we’re at.”
It will be the Davison County Commission’s call to appoint his replacement to serve the remainder of his term, which is up for election in 2022 and expires Dec. 31, 2022.
The commission was not shy with its praise for Brink and his efforts. Commission Chairwoman Brenda Bode said it was honorable for Brink to recognize his place in the department and decide he would have someone else lead the way.
“It takes perspective to do that and we all appreciate that,” she said.
Brink said he always wanted to be a cop but was late to working in law enforcement, not starting until he was in his 40s. He worked as a deputy sheriff in Hutchinson County for a few years before joining Davison County in 1997.
“I want to take it a little easier. I’ve worked and had a steady job since I was 13 or 14 years old,” Brink said. “I’ve been in there 25 years and I’ve been real fortunate. It’s just time for me to move on and put some younger blood up there with some new ideas. It’s a job that has changed so much in the last 10 or 15 years.”
Brink alluded to some of the violent crimes and interactions with individuals that have taken place in Davison County in recent years as being another reason to retire.
“We’ve got some real bad people, as I would call them, inmates, that have allegedly done some things that we wouldn’t have thought would even happen here 10 or 15 years ago,” he said. “It’s changing and it’s changing faster than I want to change with it.”
The sheriff’s position oversees six full-time staff, plus part-time deputies and the administration of the 70-bed Davison County Jail. Brink said he has no doubts that the county’s current roster of law enforcement officers will do a good job keeping law and order in the county.
“My young guys are doing a great job and I have no concerns that they can keep that up and make the department even stronger,” Brink said. “It’s time for some new ideas and perspective.”
If there is a sheriff’s election in 2022, it would be a rarity in the county. The race didn’t make it to the ballot in 2014 or 2018, as Brink was not challenged. And Miles was elected in 2002, the last time Davison County had an election to decide its top cop.
Brink said he knows there are some quality candidates in the department that would “overfill” his shoes when he leaves. But he said he won’t campaign to the commissioners for a specific person to be his replacement. He said that’s contrary to how Miles approached it, who made it clear that Brink was his preferred successor.
“Who you want to put behind me, that’s up to you,” he told the board.