The finalists have been chosen. The interviews are underway. And Rosemount’s new police chief is to be appointed at the Aug. 4 City Council meeting, city officials said.
The job came open after Chief Eric Werner left Rosemount on June 6 to become police chief in Maple Grove.
Mayor Bill Droste said he wants the new chief to be “a good leader. One who knows how to build relationships with the business community and motivate a young team of police officers.”
Residents who want to comment on any of the candidates should e-mail city administrator Dwight Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s what the candidates had to say about themselves and the job. Their answers have been paraphrased and edited for length:
Personal: Lives in Farmington. A native of Oklahoma, Scott met his wife when they became pen-pals while he was serving in the Gulf War in 1990-91. After the war, he moved to the Twin Cities to be with her. Two children, ages 9 and 15.
“I’m not looking for my first chief’s job; I’m looking for my last chief’s job. I’m here to make this my home.”
Experience: Almost 25 years in law enforcement, the past 17 with Apple Valley police. Currently a captain in charge of patrol operations. Oversees patrol and community service officers and a large portion of the budget. “I keep a good accountability of the dollars we spend, making sure we’re not going over and making sure we’re getting what we need for the right dollar. There’s always a deal to be made.”
Challenges: “In Rosemount here, it’s going to be a great time. Rosemount is in an upward climb. You can grow with the city. The biggest issue is always going to be making sure you meet the residents’ needs, making sure they get the services they deserve.
“You have to be a proactive person rather than a reactive person.” For example, “if the retail grows, do you plan on getting a retail officer? If the housing grows, do you plan on getting a neighborhood collaboration officer?”
Priorities: “My priority would be to work within the community. I think you need to build good relationships, so when times become tough and you have to make tough decisions, the community is behind you 100 percent. I think sometimes chiefs fail at that became they don’t have that relationship with the community and they become reactive rather than proactive.
“Fortunately for me, since I am in Apple Valley, I have already built those relationships. I am confident that if I have any questions, I can reach out, and I’m comfortable doing that.”
Plans: “I think I really just need to plan for the future. [Werner] has made some good changes, I just need to build upon them now.
“They’re looking at getting the Explorer program. I think that’s huge, getting the youth involved in law enforcement.
“I am not a micromanager. You need to inspire your employees and give them a chance to grow. The ultimate goal would be when I retire from Rosemount, there would be someone ready to step up and be the next chief.”
Personal: Lives in Rosemount. Two children, ages 12 and 14.
Experience: Currently a sergeant in the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office. After seven years in investigations, now oversees a patrol shift. Member of the Rosemount Fire Department for 18 years and its chief since April 2013. He oversees hiring, discipline and the budget.
Overall, 13 years in law enforcement, 10 as a sworn officer with Dakota County. Prior to that, owned a lawn care company for 17 years.
“I did a ride-along with a Rosemount cop on a Tuesday night and by Monday I was enrolled in school. I was looking for a career change and I thought to myself, ‘I can do this for the rest of my life.’ ”
Challenges: “There’s a number of things going on right now with the Police Department. Obviously there’s been some recent changes with Eric Werner leaving. There’s going to be some challenges with that, some unsettling with the troops. It is what it is and we move forward. There’s going to be that uncertainty coming in as a new chief.
“The nice thing with me is, I know all the officers. I’ve been dealing with them, starting my 18th year with the Fire Department in September. I’ve seen many of them come up through the ranks, dealing with them at medicals, on high-profile calls.”
Priorities: “First and foremost would be coming in and settling everybody down. Make sure everybody knows I have the ability to run this department and they can trust me. I think they’ve seen from what I’ve done in the Fire Department, how I’ve changed some things there, boosted morale, made everybody a team there.
Plans: “In the first 100 days, not many big changes. There are some retirements coming up here after the first of the year. There’s going to be a lot of seniority walking out the door.
“There’s a lot of good things Chief Werner started while he was here. I’m going to make sure they happen. I’m big at getting out into the community. On the opening day of school, I’m probably going to be over at the grade school, walking around, talking to the kids, making sure the administrators see me. That’s the kind of person I am.
“I think things are going in a great direction right now. I’ve never seen this department as happy as it is right now.”
Personal: Lives in Farmington. Children: “I don’t want to get into that.”
“I have coached travel basketball for the last nine years, for the Farmington community. And in many ways I have learned as much about leadership through my experience coaching teenage girls as I have through my experience in Bloomington.”
Experience: Currently a commander in the Bloomington Police Department, supervisor of the daytime patrol division, which includes five sergeants and about 35 officers. Twenty-three years in law enforcement, 21 as sworn officer in Bloomington. Worked his way through the ranks from patrol officer to investigations, crimes against persons, property crimes, K-9 handler, liaison at Kennedy High School, drug task force, commander of professional standards.
Challenges: “The initial challenge will be just getting to know the department, the officers, then the community as well. It’s about getting out and meeting face to face with residents, the business community, other officers. Talking to them about what their priorities are. Then you combine that with things like crime stats, trends in crimes, what areas of law enforcement need some additional impact and how you can use your tools and your officers to meet those.”
Priorities: “Making those connections. From there, how can we impact the crimes that are occurring in Rosemount? You look at past crimes and also future crimes. Things like identity theft, human trafficking — not necessarily the problem, the problem’s been there for a long time, but the attention it receives.
“Things that come with a growing city, like increased traffic problems. With a younger community, increasing juvenile crime. How do we affect those? A lot of it is developing relationships with our partners that are affected by that.
“Certainly gun violence in schools and workplaces. How do we address that?”
Plans: “If I was selected as chief, it would take a few weeks, probably a couple of months, to get a feel for whether something needs a drastic change. From what I’ve seen from the outside, I don’t see anything that’s a huge problem with the department.
“That’s one of the things that attracted me to come here. It’s a good department that has professional officers, officers that want to go out and work and do well. There’s good support from the community here.”