The Maple Grove City Council unanimously appointed Rosemount Police Chief Eric Werner — a doctorate of education student — to the position of police chief.
Current Police Chief David Jess will be retiring May 30 after serving as the chief since 2011.
Werner will become the city’s police chief effective June 9 at an annual salary of $115,945, subject to a 12-month probationary period.
Maple Grove Mayor Mark Steffenson said, “I thought was appropriate that we remove this and acknowledge that as of June 9, Eric Werner will become the new police chief.”
In a staff report from City Administrator Al Madsen to the council, Madsen said, “His credentials are top notch and he comes highly recommended, and we are looking forward to the leadership he will provide to the Maple Grove Police Department in his role as the new police chief.”
Werner was selected among six candidates the Maple Grove City Council interviewed April 19. The search was narrowed to three candidates at a April 26 meeting for re-interviewing.
Werner is currently the Rosemount Police Chief, but has more than 25 years of law enforcement experience. He has been Rosemount’s chief since Sept. 14, 2012.
He has a master’s degree in police leadership and administration from the University of St. Thomas and has received additional training at the FBI National Academy and at Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command. He is currently working on his doctorate in education in leadership at St. Mary’s University. Werner has a bachelor of arts in organizational management and communication from Concordia University.
The city of Rosemount has about 20 officers in the city of about 21,000 residents. Maple Grove has more than 55 members of the Police Department in a city of about 61,000 residents.
Among the positive changes Rosemount City Administrator Dwight Johnson cited were organizational changes that will result in a new position — sergeant of investigations. He said the new position will help the department be more proactive in addressing crime trends.
Under Werner, the department improved its emergency management planning and response and made money-saving changes in record keeping, Johnson said.
“He has done a great job,” Johnson said. “He has great respect in the department.”
“I am very happy in Rosemount and have been pleased with my time here,” Werner said.
He said he wasn’t looking for a job, but because of his familiarity with the Maple Grove department, he decided to consider the opening.
Werner described the move as going from one very good police department to another very good department.
He said the difficult part of the decision was knowing he would be leaving behind the relationships he has developed with Rosemount community, school and church leaders, among others.
A swearing in ceremony for Werner as the city’s new police chief will be Monday, June 16, during the regular Maple Grove City Council meeting.
Tad Johnson from SunThisWeek contributed to this story.