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W’bago needs police

By Staff | Aug 17, 2014

It was not long ago the Winnebago City Council hired a new chief of police. Now, they have opened up for more applications in the police department.

However, this time they won’t have to worry about finding a chief they will be looking for full-time officers instead.

Last Monday night, the Winnebago City Council members approved resignations from Tharen Haugh and Brittney Gehrking who were full-time officers and from former chief of police Mike Beletti who was still on the part-time officer roster.

All three officers have accepted positions with other departments, prompting their notices of resignation.

“I want to thank the city of Winnebago for the opportunities and experiences I have had at this department,” Gehrking says.

She has accepted a position with the Faribault County Sheriff’s Department, with her official last day with Winnebago being Aug. 12. Gehrking, however, has requested to stay on the part-time roster in order to assist the department in covering shifts.

“It is my belief that I?have Winnebago Public Safety Department to thank for shaping me into the officer I?have become,”?Haugh says in his letter of resignation.

He has been hired as a full-time officer with the Blue Earth Police Department and his last day with Winnebago was Aug. 13.

“I am asking my employment status be moved from full time to part time,”?he adds.

The resignations of these two full-time officers have left openings to be filled.

“Police Chief Eric Olson has sent out letters to part-time officers to gauge their interest in filling those positions,”?city administrator Chris Ziegler says.

One part-time officer, who has just recently been hired, Briar Bonin expressed interest in one of the positions.

“Eric and I recommend promoting him to fulltime,” Ziegler says.

The council members voted in favor of moving Bonin from part-time to full-time status.

“For the other opening, Eric and I sent letters to part-time applicants we’ve had from past openings and asked if they were interested in full-time,”?Ziegler says.

According to the city administrator, the process has been reopened for filling both full-time and part-time positions, and has had a good response so far.

They have received 50 applications and will proceed by scoring those applications before conducting interviews.