Wadena chief promotes officer to sergeant
Last year's retirement of Chief Bruce Uselman combined with Officer Josh Winter taking a job with the Todd County Sheriff's Office prompted a ripple effect for the Wadena Police Department that's extended into 2014.
"It's probably easier if I draw a grid," said Chief Naomi Plautz as she explained the personnel changes.
For more than a dozen years, Plautz served as a Wadena patrol officer and sergeant before the city council appointed her as the department's first female chief last fall following a stint as interim leader.
Her promotion created an open sergeant position, which she filled by promoting Officer Brandon Pearson, 29, who has been with the Wadena police force since 2006. Monday marked his first day in his new job, which combines sergeant duties with investigations.
"I'm excited to take on all the new challenges and am looking forward to assisting Naomi (Plautz) in her new role," Pearson said.
Plautz called the Pearson "a good street cop with a good level head about investigations ... He's been very dedicated to this department and he'll do great things in that capacity."
To fill the vacancy Winter's departure created, Officer Aaron White joined the Wadena Police Department in December. A nine-year law enforcement veteran, the 33-year-old from Carlton previously worked for the Leech Lake Tribal Police Department and the Floodwood (Minn.) Police Department.
"I love it," White said of his new job. "I love the police department, the town. Everybody's welcomed me with open arms. It's been really great."
Plautz said she's been pleased with White's professionalism. "He fits well with our department."
The city is running ads to find someone to fill Pearson's old job. The new patrol officer should be hired by April, Plautz said. At that point, the police force will be fully staffed with six officers.
Plautz said she's enjoying her new role as Wadena's top cop.
"There's always something new and something different," she said. "I'm building a team here that will do very well."