Retiring investigator found his job was rewarding


After 22 years of working in the Sibley County Sheriff’s Office, investigator Ellerd Mathwig will be retiring Sept. 30.

Mathwig began his law enforcement career in 1975. For the next 10 years he worked part-time as a police officer in Arlington, Green Isle, Gaylord, Henderson and Winthrop.

He worked as a full-time police officer in Arlington from 1985-88, and began working as a Sibley County Sheriff’s Deputy on Aug. 15, 1988.

When Mathwig became a full-time officer, he had to attend college and earn his associate’s degree at Mankato State. He completed an eight-week skills course at Hibbing.

He began his law enforcement career when he was living in Arlington and working part-time. He was asked by the Arlington Police Chief at the time if he would like to work as a part-time officer. It was not until 1978 that Minnesota required full-time and part-time officers to be licensed.

When Mathwig began working for the Sheriff’s Office, he worked night shift the majority of the time. When Dave Tonseth retired as investigator in 1994, Mathwig applied for and was hired to fill the position.

“I enjoyed meeting people, from working in the different towns,” Mathwig said. “It has been rewarding to help people.”

During his law enforcement career, Mathwig has seen a variety of cases. “You see people in the best and also in the worst of times,” he commented. The work is “taxing,” he said, but not tough. Sometimes it does take an emotional toll, though, he admitted.

The years at the Sheriff’s Office have gone by quickly for Mathwig. The greatest change he has witnessed has been technology. “The electronic world we’re in – computers have changed everything for the good and bad,” Mathwig said. “Forensic science has come a long way,” he said, which has aided in solving cases.

Another change is the Sibley County Jail which was built in the mid 1990’s. The former jail held six male inmates, while the newer jail tripled the occupancy. More options have also been developed for monitoring offenders, instead of having them serve in jail.

He has worked under three Sheriffs, Roger Graham, Doug Schulte and Bruce Ponath.

Mathwig plans to enjoy his retirement. He does not have any definite plans. However, he would like his activities to include hunting, fishing, camping, and spending time with nine grandchildren, who range in age from 3 to 17. He and his wife Barb have three adult children.