Law enforcement from  Winthrop to Fergus Falls gathered in Belle Plaine Friday, Nov. 30, to pay their respects to the late Sibley County Sheriff Bruce Ponath, who died in a Minneapolis Hospital Nov. 24.

Belle Plaine is usually occupied by a team of 16 police officers, but that number of policemen was quadrupled   at Ponath’s funeral service, which took place at Our Lady of the Prairie Catholic Church. Ponath’s funeral service on Friday, Nov. 30, was promptly followed by a procession that sprawled across downtown Belle Plaine and over Hwy. 169 by way of the Commerce Dr. bridge and into Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery.

Ponath worked as a deputy sheriff from October of 1989 through January of 1999. Ponath was promoted to chief deputy in January of 1999 and served in that capacity until he became sheriff of Sibley County on Jan. 6, 2003.

In January sheriff-elect Patrick Nienaber will take his place.

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