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W’bago searches for a chief solution

By Staff | Jan 19, 2014

It was almost a month ago when it was announced the City of Winnebago would be without a chief of police again.

The issue was again a topic of discussion at the council meeting last Tuesday and it still remains unresolved.

Even though Bob Toland has returned to fill in temporarily, city administrator Chris Ziegler presented the council with three potential options to fill the open position.

The first option is to proceed with the usual hiring process.

“I have posted the position online and in the Faribault County Register,” Ziegler says. “We’ve already received 13 applications.”

The second option discussed was contracting with the Faribault County Sheriffs Department for just police chief duties and hiring another full-time officer.

“If we did that, personnel issues and supervision would be handled by the city office and officer in charge, while law enforcement duties would be handled by the Sheriff’s office,” Ziegler explains.

The third option was less popular with the council and involved disbanding the Winnebago Police Department all together and drafting an agreement with the county for coverage.

“This is nothing to decide tonight,” council member Jean Anderson says. “But, I feel we need our own police force in this town.”

Toland was also at the meeting to discuss options with the council.

“I feel that contracting with the county will be an expensive option,” Toland says. “You can afford your own police department so you should keep it.”

After some discussion it seemed the council wasn’t ready to make a decision on their course of action just yet.

“I feel it would be worth our while to have a special meeting to figure this out,”?council member Scott Robertson adds.

The council will hold a special meeting to look further into their options before making a decision. The meeting will take place on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Winnebago Municipal Center.