BAXTER -- In looking for a police chief, the city of Baxter is looking for a community police officer.
"We want somebody to be real visible, real proactive," said Dennis Coryell, city administrator.
With a field of 22 applicants narrowed down to six finalists, Coryell said the city council will have no problem selecting the person that fits their needs to run the police department.
"We are really looking forward to hearing from all of them," he said.
The finalists will be interviewed Nov. 6 at Hawthorn Inn and Suites in Baxter. Before that time, Baxter City Council members will have to study the resumes of their six candidates -- Brent Baloun, a St. Cloud police sergeant and former Brainerd resident; Todd Dahl, a Crow Wing County sheriff's sergeant; Jim Exsted, a Baxter police sergeant; Phil Jones, Cold Spring police chief; Dale Walz, a captain and acting Baxter police chief; and Russ Wicklund, a Baxter police sergeant.
* Sgt. Brent J. Baloun has been with the St. Cloud Police Department since 1995. He is a supervisor of the police liaison program and the crime lab.
A 1986 graduate of Brainerd High School, Baloun also attended St. Cloud State University, where he received a degree in criminal justice, and Alexandria Technical College, where he received his law enforcement skills certificate.
Before working with the St. Cloud Police Department, Baloun worked as a patrol officer with the Deerwood and Crosby police departments from 1992-1995.
Baloun has received training in fingerprinting from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the FBI, forensics from the FBI, basic arson investigation from the National Fire Academy and homicide investigation from the Northwest Traffic Institute.
In his cover letter, Baloun said his work with the Central Minnesota Gang Strike Task Force, his work on sexual assault cases and his work on drug investigations would be a benefit to Baxter.
* Todd Dahl has worked in law enforcement for more than 17 years. In his work as a sergeant with the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department, Dahl has worked on budgets, personnel issues, department policies, scheduling, purchasing, managing prisoner transports, managing civil processes and maintaining the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Tactical Team.
He has training in police administration supervision, management and discipline through Bemidji State University and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
"Throughout my career in law enforcement I have continuously challenged myself by seeking additional experiences and responsibilities through my positions and continued education," Dahl wrote in his cover letter to the city. "I feel this will allow me to successfully serve the community of Baxter and the citizens alike."
* Jim Exsted has been with the Baxter Police Department since 1995, where he has twice received the Officer of the Year Award.
As an investigator and sergeant, Exsted oversees all investigations, supervises patrol officers on day shifts and works on grant applications.
Exsted received a degree in criminal justice from Bemidji State University and his law enforcement skills training from Hibbing Community College.
He has training from the Field Training Officer School, the BCA investigation course, the Minnesota Gang School, the state computer school, Reid Technique interview school and Safe and Sober courses.
In his cover letter, Exsted said in his eight years with the Baxter Police Department he has assisted with the compilation and presentation of department budgets, worked on staffing issues, been involved in presenting information to the city's management team and the city council.
Before working with the Baxter Police Department, Exsted worked as a deputy and dispatcher with the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department from 1995-1996 and with the Central Minnesota Juvenile Center from 1993-1995.
* Cold Spring Police Chief Phil Jones has been in his current position since 1992. He also served as a sergeant and patrol officer with the Cold Spring Police Department from 1990-1992. He was a part-time police officer in Fairmont from 1988-1990.
Jones received a degree in criminal justice from Mankato State University and his law enforcement skills certificate from Hibbing Community College.
He has participated in the BCA's police management series and in seminars with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington, D.C. He also has served in the U.S. Marine Corps and the Army National Guard.
In his cover letter, Jones said he considers himself to be proactive in all areas of law enforcement, especially community policing. He noted that with the Cold Spring Police Department he has applied for and received $275,000 in federal community policing grants.
"Because of that I could fit well in Baxter's progressive environment," he wrote.
* Dale Walz has been with the Baxter Police Department since 1990, working as a patrol officer, investigator, captain and acting police chief.
Walz received an associate's degree in criminal justice from Northland Community College. Before taking a position with the Baxter Police Department, he worked as a special deputy with the Morrison County Sheriff's Department in 1984, as a patrol officer with the Pierz Police Department from 1985-1989 and as the police chief of the Randall Police Department from 1989-1990.
In his resume Walz noted that he has extensive knowledge with the daily operations and personnel of the Baxter Police Department and is knowledgeable with the police department's budget in his years as a supervisor. He also noted that his four years experience in the Legislature would be an asset.
* Russ Wicklund has been an officer with the Baxter Police Department since 1990. As a supervisor his duties include supervising shifts, coordinating law enforcement computer systems, performing pre-employment background investigations, working as a field training officer and performing internal investigations.
Before becoming a sergeant he worked as an investigator and patrol officer. He also served as an intern with the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department.
Wicklund received a degree in criminal justice from Bemidji State University and his law enforcement skills training from Alexandria Technical College. He also received an associate's degree from Brainerd Community College.
"I believe during my 14 years as an officer in the Baxter Police Department I have demonstrated the necessary leadership qualities," Wicklund wrote in his cover letter.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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