Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist Reflects on 38-Year Law Enforcement Career Before Retiring

He's been a police officer in Glyndon and Moorhead, and a police officer and firefighter in Dilworth

MOORHEAD, Minn. — On January 3rd, Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist will be saying goodbye to almost a 40–year–long career in law enforcement.

KVRR’s Danielle Church tells us how he got into public service.

Some things can be instilled in us at a young age. And for Bill Bergquist, it was none other than a love for public service.

“Since the day I was born, I knew I was going to be a cop. Even on my tricycle, I had my little red light. That’s all I ever wanted to do,” Bergquist said.

After graduating from high school in Dilworth, he got right into his law enforcement studies at Alexandria Technical College and then MSUM.

Bergquist has had a career in law enforcement since 1980, but he joined the Moorhead Police Department in 1988.

In 2002, he replaced longtime sheriff Larry Costello after winning his first election.

“I’m a people person. People that do know me think I’m an honest person, easy to talk to and can definitely tell I enjoy my job,” Bergquist said in a 2002 interview with KVRR.

That was an interview Bergquist did with KVRR right after his win.

But 16 years later, Bergquist’s colleagues are still raving about him, including Sheriff–Elect Mark Empting.

“He’s such a well–liked guy in the community and you can’t go anywhere without someone commenting about him and how much they like him and how nice he is and things like that,” Empting said.

Empting, who’s also from Dilworth, always wanted to be a police officer. But it was doing ride alongs with Bergquist when he was 15 that made him want to pursue it even more.

“I remember giving him grief because he didn’t like to write a lot of tickets so I always give him grief about handing out gift certificates to people, which he did,” Empting said.

Empting says it’s now his job to reach the bar someday that Bergquist has raised.

“Without a doubt. I can’t make him think ‘what the heck was I doing’ supporting him so I definitely have to make not only him proud but my family, his family and the entire community,” Empting said.

But that doesn’t mean he won’t see a familiar face every once in a while at the office.

“Do you want to sit in your desk now? I keep telling them I might stop by now and then. The lady said I could,” Bergquist said.

“Not having him wander the halls and come looking for ya asking questions or things like that, it’s going to be different. It’s a big loss to our department,” Empting said.

Sheriff Bergquist and his wife plan to stay in Moorhead for now. He says he’s most proud of his time as a negotiator for SWAT and the new jail was something he was proud to see go up. Empting says completing the jail is a top priority.

Categories: Local News, Minnesota News, Moorhead