When will all those state seals -- and there's hundreds of them -- get replaced?

Feb. 3—Dear Answer Man: When you start noticing it — as I recently have — the state seal is everywhere. It's in government buildings. It's incorporated into logos for agencies. Even the patches for the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office has the state seal incorporated in them. With the new seal being finalized, what's the county's plan for replacing the old seal with the new one in all these places? Do they phase out the cars they have now? What about the patches on the deputies' uniforms? — I See Old Seals.

Dear Seer,

So, the other day Answer Man was on the fourth floor of the city-county Government Center paying his speeding ticket — yes, readers, Mrs. Answer Man has already read him the riot act — when yours truly noticed a big state seal hanging in the office of the nice people who take Answer Man's money.

It occurred to me at that moment — as it has for you, Seer — that

like with the flags,

replacing the state seals all around Minnesota is going to be a process. While each agency out there will a slightly different approach. Some might just take down the old seals and not replace them right away. Some might replace the seal imagery in their logo with something else so they don't have the state seal incorporated at all.

But the fine folks at the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office will replace the old seal with the new one in the patches they wear on their sleeves.

Sheriff Kevin Torgerson said replacing all the seals with new ones — and this includes on badges, on sleeve patches for both the Sheriff's Office deputies and for the personnel at the Adult Detention Center, plus logos on squad cars plus emblems in the building and sheriff's office flags — we're looking at about $90,000 to $100,000.

Torgerson added that the seal has been a part of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office's emblem since as far back as the 1950s, though there's nothing in state law requiring it, and there are several sheriff's offices in Minnesota that do not use the as part of their badge or emblem. For example, the city of Rochester does not incorporate the seal into its police and fire department logos or patches.

"With the decision by the 2023 Minnesota Legislature to change the seal, and abolish the historical version of our State Seal created in 1861, we felt, as most cities, counties and of course the State of Minnesota with the change in the seal we had to pre-plan for a change," Torgerson said.

Making the change to the new seal — and new flags — Torgerson said, is a "huge expense for all of us unless, the Legislature offers state money to us to offset our local costs."

That, he said, seems unlikely.

There is still the possibility, he said, the county could decide to create logos and emblems for the sheriff's office that do not incorporate the new seal.

So, as the decisions are made, keep watching those sheriff's office cruisers and the patches on the sleeves of Torgerson and his deputies. No matter which direction the county goes, though, there will be a cost to replace those images that include the outgoing seal.

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