Aukes sworn in as Hubbard County Sheriff on Monday
A homegrown son fulfilled his life's ambition Monday morning as Cory Aukes was sworn in as Hubbard County Sheriff.
The new sheriff, a Park Rapids native, got a hug from mom Gina Aukes and a "Good job!" salutation. His extended family, in-laws, two kids and wife Molly all stood by, most with digital cameras flashing.
"He worked very hard and we're so proud of him," said aunt Tish Snelling.
Aukes was sworn in by district court operations supervisor Lindy Berg.
He wore a brown shirt, not the traditional white reserved for the top law enforcement officials. He said he would wear brown to the office and white to more formal occasions.
Aukes, a 20-year veteran of the force, has been careful to remain identified with the patrol staff that worked hard to put him in office.
And he has already begun work on his campaign pledge to be a "working sheriff."
He spent the weekend on night patrol through the holidays and worked the scene of a snowmobile accident Thursday night that ended up in a teen's death.
"It was a pretty quiet New Year's Eve," he said. "We had a few cars in the ditch" during blizzard conditions, but no major arrests.
His chief deputy Scott Parks begins work Tuesday.
Aukes made a few brief remarks after signing his oath of office, thanking the two dozen assembled for their support and promising not to let them down.
Throughout the campaign, Aukes said it was his lifelong ambition to become sheriff of his home county.
Upstairs in the Law Enforcement Building, former Sheriff Frank Homer was cleaning out his office.
He did not attend the ceremony for the department sergeant who ousted him in the November election.
Aukes, 40, has also pledged to do away with much of the paperwork that Hubbard County personnel complained was hampering the staff's ability to patrol the highways.
He is a 1988 graduate of Park Rapids Area High School and attained a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Bemidji State University.
He received his law enforcement training at Hibbing Technical College. He began work at the Hubbard County Sheriff's Department in 1990 as a road deputy.
Aukes' first order of duty came from daughter Kate, who wanted him to slice her the first piece of his "Welcome Sheriff Aukes" cake.