WHPS swears in police chief, sergeant

Ray McCoy (left) congratulates Gary Kroells on April 22 after Kroells took his oath of office as the new public safety director of the West Hennepin Public Safety Department. McCoy spent three years preparing Kroells to succeed him as public safety director. McCoy is retiring after a 30-year career with WHPS. (Sun staff photo by Susan Van Cleaf)

Ray McCoy (left) congratulates Gary Kroells on April 22 after Kroells took his oath of office as the new public safety director of the West Hennepin Public Safety Department. McCoy spent three years preparing Kroells to succeed him as public safety director. McCoy is retiring after a 30-year career with WHPS. (Sun staff photo by Susan Van Cleaf)

West Hennepin Public Safety swore in four people for new positions on April 22. Stepping into new duties are (left to right) Officer Matt Rosati, Sgt. Rick Denneson, Public Safety Director Gary Kroells and Officer Jeff Kordiak (Sun staff photo by Susan Van Cleaf.)

West Hennepin Public Safety swore in four people for new positions on April 22. Stepping into new duties are (left to right) Officer Matt Rosati, Sgt. Rick Denneson, Public Safety Director Gary Kroells and Officer Jeff Kordiak (Sun staff photo by Susan Van Cleaf.)

2 new patrol officers also sworn in

BY SUSAN VAN CLEAF

SUN PRESS Newspapers

 

The West Hennepin Public Safety Department had a significant swearing in ceremony, Tuesday, April 22, as two new leaders and two new patrol officers officially received badges symbolizing their ranks.

Public Safety Director Ray McCoy presided over his last swearing in ceremony prior to his approaching retirement on April 29. First he introduced new patrol officers Matt Rosati and Jeff Kordiak and administered their oaths of office.  Sgt. Gary Kroells presented their new badges, numbers 110 and 115.

Then McCoy swore in the man who is succeeding him as public safety director — Kroells. This left Kroell’s sergeant’s position temporarily vacant. He proceeded to swear-in the new sergeant, Rick Denneson, who up to that point, had been a WHPS patrol officer.

The carefully choreographed ceremony took place before both the Independence and Maple Plain city councils at Independence City Hall because WHPS provides law enforcement services to both cities. Independence Mayor Marvin Johnson and Maple Plain Mayor Roger Hackbarth welcomed a room full of well-wishers, who swarmed around the four honorees after the formal part of the evening ended.

Kroells, the new public safety director, started working at the department Oct. 1, 1996. He was promoted to sergeant in 2005. During his time at WHPS, Kroells has served 10 years as the DARE officer for Delano Public Schools and five years as a member of the Lake Minnetonka SWAT team. Since 2005, he has served as second in command at the department.

Kroells is the fourth director of public safety for WHPS since it was formed in 1979. The first director was James Franklin, followed by Larry Bailey and McCoy.

Outgoing Director McCoy started with WHPS as a charter member of the reserve officer unit in 1980. He was a reserve officer until 1983, when he was hired by Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and then hired as a WHPS police officer in 1984. During his time at the department, McCoy served on numerous boards and task forces, including 14 years on the committee board for the Hennepin County Justice Integration. The committee worked to integrate all justice partners so they could freely share information and reduce redundancies.

New Sgt. Denneson joined WHPS as a police officer in 1988. Over his 25 years with the department, he has served as an investigator, reserve officer coordinator, use of force instructor and as field training officer. He has served as police department coordinator for several of its programs, including Child Passenger Seat Safety, Safe and Sober and the Citizens Academy. Denneson has served on the Hennepin County Traffic Advisory Committee and also the state DWI Task Force. He also has served on the Maple Plain Fire Department for the past 28 years and is a fire department captain. A graduate of Orono High School, he grew up in Independence.

Denneson is the sixth person to serve as a sergeant for WHPS. His predecessors are Wayne Shellum, Bailey, McCoy, Todd Boelter and Kroells.

A retirement open house will be held for McCoy April 29 in the Independence City Council chambers at City Hall, 1920 County Road 90. The event will run from 4:30-7:30 p.m. with a program beginning at 6 p.m.

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