NISSWA -- At only 31, Craig Taylor has the job he wants until he retires.
Sworn in as Nisswa's police chief Sept. 23, Taylor became just the second chief in the four-year history of the Nisswa Police Department, taking over for former Chief Ron Seliski. He couldn't have been happier.
"I was excited and honored to be selected," Taylor said of the last job he hopes to ever have. "I have absolutely no intentions ever of leaving the city."
Originally from Crosby, Taylor is the only remaining officer who joined the Nisswa Police Department when it opened its doors in 1996.
Having been in Nisswa since the department was begun, Taylor felt he was ready and able to serve as chief, and threw his hat into the ring after Seliski announced his resignation in a letter to the Nisswa City Council on Aug. 10.
"I have been here since the start. I felt like I probably had a better knowledge of the department than anyone else and felt confident of what the community expected from me," Taylor said.
Taylor didn't come into the chief position without experience in the field, however. In 1999 he was promoted to sergeant to help Seliski with his duties, though Taylor admits it does feel different now coming to work every morning as police chief.
He said Seliski was eager to make the transition go smoothly, and the former chief was helpful in giving information Taylor needs to run the department.
"He taught me for four years." said Taylor. "I'm confident he was happy with the decision."
Taylor said the city council, Mayor Harold Kraus and the residents of Nisswa have been supportive of him. But most important, he appreciates the support of his co-workers, officers Tim Holmes, Jason Boelter, Greg Kossan and department clerk Cindy Rock.
"These are the best bunch of people you could find anywhere," Taylor said of his staff members. "It's so nice to have the people you're working with pulling for you. It's going to be a good team."
Taylor said the key for the Nisswa Police Department is to prepare for the future. Nisswa isn't just a seasonal city any more, he added, and like most of Crow Wing County, Nisswa will be growing in the next 15 years.
Immediate goals for the department include officer training and retention, having officers present in the school and preventing crimes against the elderly.
Before 1996 Taylor worked for two years as a peace officer in Bullhead City, Ariz. -- an experience as different as it was educational.
"I learned a lot in two years there. You're taking 17 to 20 calls a shift, dealing with a lot of crimes in progress," he said. "There were many things you're not exposed to here."
Though he had always hoped to work in the Brainerd lakes area again -- from 1993-1994 he worked at the Breezy Point Police Department -- he figured his job in Arizona would be a more permanent one because of the lack of jobs in this area.
Taylor, though doubtful, kept in touch with friends and family here and had a feeling Nisswa would start its own police department. When the chance came to apply for a position there, he jumped at it.
And now he has his dream job, with a staff he admires in a town he loves.
"I never thought I would get the opportunity to come back," he said of his years working in Arizona. "I just want to say how great I think this department is, how great the community is and how great these employees are."
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