Rice County Sheriff Jesse Thomas has expanded his office’s leadership team, promoting a pair of longtime deputies to captain.
The new captains, Nathan Budin and Paul LaRoche, were sworn in earlier this week. Both have years of experience with the Rice County Sheriff’s Office
Thomas said both Budin and LaRoche are well respected and have an excellent work ethic.
“If (Chief Deputy) Joe (Yetzer) and I are out of town, I know that everything will be taken care of with Capt. Budin and Capt. LaRoche in charge,” Thomas said.
Budin grew up in Greenvale Township, just west of Northfield, and graduated from Northfield High School. While contemplating career choices, Budin connected with Yetzer. Then a Lonsdale police officer who grew up on a neighboring farm, Yetzer answered Budin’s questions about law enforcement and took him on a ride along.
Budin earned a degree in law enforcement from Alexandria Technical and Community College. During his second year in college he started working as a part-time officer in Lonsdale.
Budin joined the Sheriff’s Office in December 2000, starting as a corrections officer in the jail before heading up the county’s water patrol a few months later. That was soon followed by a full-time deputy post.
Budin, who served as a K-9 officer with his former partner Ronin for six-and-a-half years, was also a member of the region’s tactical team for about six years, and served as field training officer. In 2011 he was promoted to sergeant. While he spent the last year as a patrol sergeant, the prior six years he headed up the Investigations Unit.
In his new role, Budin will oversee the office’s Investigations and Courthouse units, Water Patrol, Dive Team, civil processes and internal affairs complaints.
“I’ve been fortunate to have been mentored in my career by current and former administrators,” Budin said. “Now it’s my turn to help others develop and be successful in their careers.”
LaRoche was raised in Faribault and graduated from Faribault High School. He completed his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Bemidji State University and obtained his Law Enforcement Skills certificate from Alexandria Technical and Community College.
LaRoche was hired in fall 2007 as an officer by the Faribault Police Department. The following spring he became a deputy with the Sheriff’s Office.
He has served as a patrol deputy, use-of-force instructor, a field training officer for new deputies and a member of two regional tactical teams. From 2014-18 he worked in Investigations, focusing on complex cases. In January 2018 he was promoted to sergeant. He worked patrol for a short time before returning to investigations.
From the fall 2018 to December 2021, he was the commander of the Cannon River Drug and Violent Offender Task Force, a collaborative effort of Faribault and Northfield police departments and the Rice and Le Sueur county sheriff’s offices.
In late 2021, he became the office’s administrative sergeant, a job that includes overseeing patrol operations, scheduling, training, purchasing and up-fitting squad cars, handling of forfeitures, and other administrative duties.
In addition to those duties, LaRoche will handle internal affairs complaints and serve as Rice County representative on the South Metro SWAT board.
“We truly have great staff who work hard to serve the residents of Rice County each and every day,” LaRoche said.. “I feel very fortunate to have worked with and learned from all of the individuals that I’ve worked with in the past 15 years. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead.”
The two captains’ jobs won’t increase the number of positions at the Sheriff’s Office. They replace a lieutenant’s and sergeant’s position, according to Thomas.