The National Sheriffs' Association (NSA) has named Cass County (N.D.) Sheriff Paul D. Laney as the recipient of the 2012 Ferris E. Lucas Award for sheriff of the year.
The award will be presented at the opening general session on June 17 at NSA's annual conference in Nashville, Tenn.
Sheriff Laney was elected sheriff of Cass County in November of 2006. Prior to being elected Sheriff, he was a 17-year veteran of the Fargo Police Department, rising to the rank of lieutenant. He was also the commander of the Red River Valley SWAT team. Now in his sixth year as sheriff, he commands an agency of 140 full-time employees, as well as approximately 40 volunteers.
During record flooding in 2009, Sheriff Laney supervised the rescue of 168 residents from their homes. He coordinated a multi-agency flood response to the Red River Valley area for the last three consecutive years, to include the formation of a Tactical Operations Center (TOC) approach in which multiple agencies worked side-by-side for flood response and rescue operations. Sheriff Laney's dedication and efforts with the Cass County TOC has led to a declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) that Cass County's TOC concept be adopted and implemented as a "best practice" nationwide.
On the heels of flooding in Eastern North Dakota in 2011, the western part of the state and much of the southern region was significantly impacted by record Missouri River flooding. Sheriff Laney offered assistance to other parts of the region both in TOC protocol, manpower, and equipment. Air boats that had been purchased through grant funding and operators spent weeks assisting in the Minot and Bismarck areas. Sheriff Laney and other personnel also advised public safety personnel in South Dakota about establishing TOC operations. This resulted in critical time saving measures during a rapidly developing and dynamic situation.
Sheriff Laney has organized a United Emergency Action plan with the assistant superintendent of Fargo schools that put all schools in Cass and Clay counties on the same emergency response plan for critical incidents. He has also created a Field Readiness Training Program for licensed officers that brings increased staffing without the need to hire additional staff. He created a Corrections Emergency Response Team to respond to disturbances and disruptive inmates in the Cass County jail and developed an Office of Professional Standards (OPS) to investigate internal and external complaints against the Cass County Sheriff's Office personnel.
Sheriff Laney earned a bachelor's in management and a master's in management with an emphasis in human resources from the University of Mary in Bismarck. He's a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Sheriff Laney currently serves as the president of the North Dakota Sheriff's and Deputies Association. He's an active member of the National Sheriffs' Association, serving on NSA's Drug Enforcement and Special Operations committees. Sheriff Laney and his wife Patty, an attorney and director of the Criminal Justice program at Rasmussen College in Fargo, have two daughters.