AUSTIN (AP) -- For the job of Mower County Sheriff, authorities are convinced they have the right man. Er, woman.
"She will kick your ... you can quote me on that," former Sheriff Wayne Goodnature said of Terese Amazi, who in November became the first woman in state history to be elected to the office of sheriff.
Other women have been appointed sheriffs in Minnesota but Amazi was the first elected to the position, according to the Minnesota Sheriff's Association.
Amazi, a Twin Cities native, has risen through the ranks of the department. She's gone from jailer to detective to deputy chief. She's even survived some controversy, including the jail break of two murder suspects from St. Paul and the subsequent firing of a jailer.
Now she's the boss.
"I'm going to be out there, active in the search warrants," she said.
Amazi, 39, says she'll be attending county board meetings to discuss the budget as well as assist with drug searches in the rural southern Minnesota county. Just weeks after the November election, Amazi and her black Labrador qualified as a drug search team.
Goodnature said he's impressed with how Amazi has managed herself in a male-dominated profession. Minnesota's law enforcement community counts 9,716 officers. Of those, 1,031 are women, according to the Minnesota Peace and Police Officers Association.
Amazi describes herself as no-nonsense. "If I've got something to say, you know it," she said.
Amazi grew up in South St. Paul, but her family moved to Moose Lake when she was 16. She graduated from Moose Lake High School in 1981 and decided on law enforcement after hearing tales of her late grandfather, who was a South St. Paul police officer during the John Dillinger gang era.
She attended Alexandria Technical College and earned an associate's degree in the law enforcement program.
After college, she and her husband, Wayne, headed to Helena, Mont., where she took a job at the Lewis and Clark County Jail. The couple and their two children returned to Minnesota five years later to be closer to family and pursue their careers in law enforcement.
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