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Officer Plautz has new duties with Wadena police force

Photo by Rachelle Klemme New Sgt. Investigator Naomi Plautz has been with the Wadena police force for 14 years.

Newly promoted Sgt. Investigator Naomi Plautz had been determined for a career in law enforcement since her early high school days.

"It began in ninth grade when I knew that I wanted to be a police officer," Plautz said. "I just didn't know at that time what it all entailed."

Plautz replaces the recently retired Sgt. Investigator Tom Crawford. She will lead investigations and have a supervisory role over officers in the Wadena Police Department.

"I've got new duties and new responsibilities," she said.

Plautz wears a badge saying she has been in service with the police since 1998, and she has been doing investigations for six years. She said she has worked on cases involving sexual abuse, severe assault, burglaries, drugs and other crimes.

She said that during an investigation, officers get the initial complaint or information, verify it with the complainant and get as much information as possible, gather intelligence from other officers, gather information from the in-house computer system and approach the suspect.

"You gather information from wherever you need," she said.

If investigators don't already have a suspect in mind, they try to develop one and listen to the victim.

"Lots of legwork goes into an investigation," she said. "And lots of intelligence from officers, our in-house computer system."

Plautz and the rest of the Wadena police force also had the 2010 tornado aftermath to deal with.

"We were very, very busy. We all had jobs to do and there was no downtime at all," she said.

Plautz and Deputy Amy Ament of the Wadena County Sheriff's Office received the 2011 Leadership Award from the Minnesota Association of Women Police.

After graduating from high school, Plautz went to Alexandria Technical College to study law enforcement.

"That's all I've ever wanted to be. Never thought of anything else. And I do help people. That's why I originally wanted to be a police officer - to help people who can't help themselves," she said. "I don't like people who take advantage of other people, or prey on other people."

What was the difference between the ninth grade image of police work, and the actual reality?

Plautz said you would think when people are being preyed upon, the police would just arrest the bad guy, but there is actually quite a bit of paperwork.

"The real reward in the job for me is that when we are able to solve a case for someone - the joy and the relief that they have," she said.