Pending the results of background checks, physical and psychological tests, the Winnebago Police Department will be up and running soon.
City Council approved the hiring of Nathan Goette as police chief and Darren Bettin to fill a full-time officer position at Tuesday night’s meeting.
“It’s historic,” quips Mayor Scott Robertson. “Things are looking up. We’re getting there, we’ll be fine.”
Council member Calvin Howard shares Robertson’s relief that the Police Department is almost back to three full-time officers.
“There should be a parade in town, almost,” says Howard. “It’s big news. This is what the city wanted. I’m glad we stuck we with. I’m optimistic everything is going to work out.”
The police department has been without an officer since September 2023, when Police Chief Eric Olson resigned to go work for the Faribault County Sheriff’s Department.
Prior to Olson’s resignation, the county hired one of the city’s two full-time officers in June of 2022 and another in January 2023.
In the meantime, police coverage has been provided by part-time officers and by the Sheriff’s Department.
City Administrator Judi Hynes did have some bad news for council members.
A candidate for a full-time officer position and in the background stage has withdrawn their application.
Hynes says the vacancy has been reposted again on the law enforcement Minnesota POST Board website as well as the League of Minnesota Cities website.
Goette is currently working for the USC School District as a resource officer.
Prior to that, he was a deputy for Scott County, a police officer and member of the SWAT Team for the city of Shakopee. He will be paid an hourly wage of $40.99.
Bettin is currently a part-time officer for the Blue Earth Police Department. It’s anticipated he will begin working in Winnebago near the end of February and will be paid an hourly wage of $31.20.
Olson, who has been serving as the city Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO), asked the council if he could work part time for the city when not working for the county.
“There are some issues in Winnebago I’d like to take care,” says Olson. “I also figure it would be an easier transition for the police chief. I could come in once in a while and help train him too.”
No council members spoke out against Olson’s request to work part time.