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Crookston police make hometown hire

Paul Biermaier won't require much training when he takes over as the Crookston police chief Oct. 1. That's because he's lived 44 of his 47 years in Crookston, including the last 23 as a member of the police department. "It helps because you know ...

Paul Biermaier

Paul Biermaier won't require much training when he takes over as the Crookston police chief Oct. 1.

That's because he's lived 44 of his 47 years in Crookston, including the last 23 as a member of the police department.

"It helps because you know the people, you know the area and you know the culture of the town," said Biermaier, currently the department's patrol sergeant.

Interview committee member Dana Johnson, a City Council member, agreed.

"He already knows the department, which is a huge advantage over hiring someone externally," she said. "He's also been heavily involved with the community, in organizations and in volunteering."

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Hector Santellanes, another council member on the interview committee, said he was impressed with Biermaier's ideas about using technology and social media to communicate. "We need a leader who tells the story of what they're doing, so everyone is on the same page," he said.

In addition to patrol sergeant, Biermaier also has held the positions of detective sergeant, juvenile officer/investigator and school resource officer.

"Paul is a great overall talent, well-educated and with a lot of talent and ideas for the future," Johnson said. "The entire committee agreed that he is highly qualified and will be a great asset. We had qualified people in the department, so there was no need to go external."

The other finalist was Lt. Gene Visness, second in command in the CPD behind Chief Tim Motherway, who is retiring on Sept. 30 to take a private-sector job. The interview committee has offered the job to Biermaier, but the appointment won't become official until the council approves it. It meets Aug. 12.

"One theme that comes back to me is to have a strong team environment," Biermaier said. "I'm not just talking about our department, but also how the police department fits in with other city departments, the City Council and the community has a whole."

Call Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1125; or send email to rbakken@gfherald.com .

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