The Winnebago Police Department is here to stay.
At a special meeting last Thursday, the Winnebago City Council passed a motion to pursue their own chief of police and form a hiring board with two council members and leaders from other law enforcement agencies.
The city of Winnebago did discuss other options, however.
Chief deputy Scott Adams presented a quote for law enforcement coverage (directly from sheriff Mike Gormley) if the city decided to contract with the Faribault County Sheriff's office.
A quote of $350,000 was presented to the board, which would include three full-time deputies, extra part-time deputies, vehicle expenses, as well as secretarial and administrative cost.
Board member Rich Johnson discussed how it truly is important to have a constant for the people of Winnebago.
"If we contracted to the Sheriff's office we would lose our personal touch," he says. "We need someone who people can trust and know will always be there. That is big for small town residents and the other officers."
Interim chief of police, Bob Toland also voiced his opinion on the matter.
"What does that say about us if we don't give the people of Winnebago a chief of police?" Toland questioned. "We need to let people know we care about this community and about the safety of its residents. Board member Jean Anderson says it's nice to have options.
"We can say we have explored our options," she says. "Having a chief gives Winnebago residents a reason for people to feel safe. It creates an amount of trust and I believe it is a favorable step towards the future."
Chief deputy Adams wanted to make it clear that the Sheriff's office will help every step of the way.
"We will help you find the perfect fit," Adams says.
City Administrator Chris Ziegler reported he had 15-20 applications, as of last Thursday.
A goal was to name a new Winnebago chief of police by the end of March, according to Ziegler.