After 30 days on the job, officer to resign

Local News

It was a short stint for Winnebago’s new police officer hired last month.

Darren Bettin, who began his full-time duties on March 18, submitted his resignation for the City Council to consider at their meeting Tuesday night.

Councilman Calvin Howard made a motion to accept Bettin’s resignation effective April 18 and it was unanimously approved.

Seconds later, Howard’s motion to hire Bettin as a part-time officer at the request of Police Chief Nathan Goette also passed unanimously.

Bettin is returning to his familiar stomping grounds in Blue Earth.

City administrator Judi Hynes says Bettin will be a full-time officer in the city’s police department, where he worked part time before being hired in Winnebago.

Some council members expressed their frustration with Bettin’s sudden departure.

Councilman Calvin Howard asks, “Are there any more vacancies in Faribault County we have to worry about?”

Howard says there is one thing that’s positive, the city still has a police chief.

A pay incentive program may have been a factor in Bettin’s decision to leave.

Last December, Blue Earth City Council approved a Police Department Retention Program using state funds approved during the 2023 legislative session for public safety initiatives.

Under the program, newly-hired officers receive a one-time $5,000 check to stay with the department for three years. If an officer leaves within one year they must repay 75 percent, within two years it would be 50 percent and 25 percent within three years.

Hynes says the city also received state funds to develop a similar bonus program to help recruit officers.

She says Goette, who was not able to attend the meeting, supports creating a hiring bonus/retention incentive.

Councilman Paul Eisenmenger says he wants more details to avoid “opening up a can of worms.”

Council members asked Hynes and City Attorney David Frundt to work on an incentive retention plan that would also need approval from the officers’ union.

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