PIERRE, S.D. – Governor-elect Kristi Noem today announced that Sheriff Michael Leidholt will join her administration as Secretary of the Department of Corrections. Leidholt will follow outgoing Cabinet Secretary Denny Kaemingk who also celebrated his retirement recently.

“It’s essential we create an environment in which both families and growing businesses can feel safe to call South Dakota home,” said Noem. “I’m thrilled to work with Sheriff Leidholt to expand correctional options in our state, keep victims at the center of our criminal justice system, and reduce the likelihood of repeat offenders.”

Leidholt has served in law enforcement since 1975, and is currently the Hughes County Sheriff a post he has held for 24 years. Throughout his career, Leidholt has pioneered efforts to bring the D.A.R.E. program to South Dakota and has led the state in bringing awareness to challenges facing Indian Country and mental health across the state.

“I’m honored to serve with Governor-elect Noem as we tackle problems within our correctional operations,” said Leidholt. “We must improve our systems to prevent crime and strengthen parole, re-entry, and rehabilitation programs while respecting every taxpayer dollar. I’m grateful for this opportunity to continue serving the people of South Dakota.”