The future of Winnebago’s police department may depend on whether a police chief can be hired.
When Police Chief Eric Olson resigned last month he was optimistic there would be applicants for the job because he was receiving phone calls about the position.
A month after advertising the vacancy on the Minnesota POST Board website, City Administrator Judi Hynes says the city received two applications by the Oct. 13 deadline.
“If it’s only one or two (applicants) and we don’t care for them, then one option is to go with an outside agency like we talked about earlier,” says Mayor Scott Robertson.
The police chief position was advertised as having an hourly range of $33.25 to $36.50 and pay depending on the applicant’s experience.
Olson resigned about three months after council members gave him a pay raise and increased wages for officers to attract applicants for two department vacancies.
The city has received three applications for the officer positions, two are in the background check process and another candidate has been interviewed.
Although Olson has started his new job as a county deputy, he is also serving as the city’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer until a new police chief is hired. He will perform administrative duties and be involved in the hiring process for police chief and officers.
Meanwhile, the city of Elmore has decided not to search for a police chief and will instead contract with the Sheriff’s Department for 2024 at a cost of $45,000.
Mayor Clara Vereide says in September the council approved a police budget $123,804 for next year.
Chief Deputy Scott Adams says the county for the past year has been providing some coverage to the city at no cost.
“We will be able to cover Elmore with our current staff,” he says.
Adams has been scheduled to be on the County Board’s meeting agenda to discuss the Elmore proposal and seek approval on Tuesday.