By Rin Porter / Wadena Pioneer Journal
The Wadena City Council voted unanimously Monday to offer Interim Chief of Police Naomi Plautz the job of Chief of Police on a permanent basis.
Plautz has served as Interim Chief since the former Chief, Bruce Uselman retired. She has been in law enforcement for 19 years, beginning as a Jailer/Dispatcher at the Wadena County Sheriff’s Department. She worked as a part-time officer in Verndale, Sebeka, Henning, and Wadena and for the county full-time in the Drug Task Force Net VI.
Plautz started with the City of Wadena Police Department in 1998, and was the first female officer hired by the city or county. She graduated from Bertha-Hewitt Public Schools and Alexandria Community and Technical College. She earned her POST license in 1996.
Although Plautz had only a moment to think about it before we asked her about her goals, she replied, “We are a community-oriented police force, and we’d like to do more, be more active with the elderly, with students, at community events. I’d like to look into new technologies and find additional ways to communicate with the public, like Facebook, which some departments are doing now.”
Plautz’s appointment took effect upon her acceptance of the job offer from Swenson, which was transmitted immediately after the council adjourned. She became Chief at about 1:15 p.m. on Oct. 21.
The Wadena City Police Department will welcome a new officer on Oct. 25 to fill one of the two vacancies that now exist. Plautz will decide what to do about the second vacant position – her previous job as sergeant – and inform the Council of her request to hire an officer to bring the department back to full staffing.
The other item of business on the Council agenda was to approve the offer of a contract to the low bidder for the new Southeast Substation Transformer Addition project. Utility Superintendent Dave Evans brought the recommendation of the city’s consulting engineering firm, DGR Engineering of Rock Rapids, Iowa, to the Council. That firm recommended the low bidder, Z Contracting, doing business as National Conductor Contractors of Brainerd, receive the contract for $533,735 to install the new equipment. Work may begin as early as the week of Oct. 28.