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Investigator Gifford eyes third career

Dave Gifford is retiring as an investigator with the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department after more than 18 years of service. Photo by Jon Echternacht

Dave Gifford is about to embark on his third career.

The 55-year-old Hudson native will retire from the St. Croix County sheriff's Department Dec. 31 after 18 and one-half years.

He plans to pursue another career in the Hudson area but wasn't at liberty to disclose exactly the nature of his new endeavor during a conversation in his office last week.

Gifford went through the old traditional ladder of promotion at the sheriff's department. He started as a deputy in the jail in 1993.

"The new jail opened and they were hiring," Gifford said.

He advanced to patrol officer in 1997 and investigator in 2005. While serving as an investigator, he said his primary focus was in narcotics. He has attained special training in the investigation of arson and deaths and has served on the Drug Court board.

His inspiration to enter the field of law enforcement came from a family member. "My brother, Dale Gifford, was a police officer in Hudson then moved to Kalispell, Mont., where he worked in law enforcement until he retired and then became a judge," Gifford said.

He has noticed a few changes in the two decades he has served the county. "When I first started, the winters were kind of quiet," he said. "Now we get constant calls."

Gifford attributes the extra activity to the boom in population in the Hudson area and the county over the last 20 years.

"The advancement in technology is another big change," he said.

Gifford graduated from Hudson High School in 1974 where he was on the football and wrestling teams.

Gifford's first career was as a truck driver. "I drove for Valley Cartage, Erickson Oil and Stagecoach Express," he said. The job took him all over the country.

"My kids were getting older and involved in sports and I wanted to be home nights," he said. So when the opportunity presented itself at the sheriff's department, he looked into it.

He enjoyed being back in the community with the new job and has been active in the St. Paul Winter Carnival, which celebrates its 126th year in 2012, over the years.

His kids are grown up now, daughter Jamie earned a degree from Bethel University in 2005 and son Michael graduated from St. Thomas in 2008.

While he wasn't ready to reveal his new career path, Gifford said it wouldn't involve over the road hauling again. "I don't like the traffic," he said.