Brainerd Police Chief John Bolduc is one of four finalists for the DNR Enforcement Division chief.
"This is just a very unique opportunity," Bolduc said Sunday. "It's not like I'm anxious to leave. I'm not. I love working for the city of Brainerd. It's a unique challenge. It would be a different type of law enforcement than what I have done my entire career."
Bolduc said beyond a love of the outdoors, the post offers a unique way to continue a career of public service. And it comes at a challenging time for the DNR, which - like every other government entity - faces reduced resources. But Bolduc said the daunting nature of the task is one of the chief attractions.
"These are things that challenge one's leadership abilities and ultimately make us better," Bolduc said.
The question is whether the DNR will go outside its own organization for the position. The other finalists being considered for the position to replace Col. Mike Hamm are: Roger Tietz, DNR enforcement operations support manager; Jim Konrad, DNR enforcement acting administrative manager; and Jeff Thielen, retired DNR enforcement manager. A decision is expected within the week.
Bolduc said the DNR has a lot of talented people within the organization and that choice - to go inside or outside the agency - is part of the equation.
"I respect whatever decision they make," he said. "If I'm selected it's a unique opportunity and if I'm not, I'm in a job I love and I've lost nothing."
The DNR enforcement division chief oversees about 148 officers in the enforcement division along with civilian staff. Bolduc said the position requires a tremendous amount of collaboration within the DNR division and stakeholders groups across the state and includes policy making along with law enforcement.
"It's a pretty challenging environment," Bolduc said, noting there is a tremendous amount of scrutiny from a variety of groups.
Bolduc was hired by Brainerd in 2001. He was formerly police chief of Mora.
"The city has truly been blessed to have him as our chief in so many ways," said Brainerd Mayor James Wallin. "Nobody is irreplaceable but it would be very hard to find someone of his abilities, his integrity and his honesty and to me he's a very caring individual.
"I'm glad we've had him as long as we've had. We'll see what happens. What will be will be and we'll go from there. I'm really proud to have him serving our city he is just an excellent, excellent chief. I have mixed emotions. I hate to see him leave, but if he can advance himself I wish him well. He's one super nice guy and excellent at what he does."
Asked about his chances, Bolduc said: "I view my chances as simply one in four."
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