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Top candidate offered Park Rapids police chief job

A police captain from Savage, Minn. emerged as the top candidate for the Park Rapids Chief of Police job following interviews last week. A six-person special committee interviewed five finalists, and based on the evaluation, unanimously recommended Jeffrey Appel to be hired as the next chief of police.

The city council on Monday authorized City Administrator John McKinney to negotiate a contract with Appel, who is currently patrol captain with the Savage Police Department. He has a bachelor's degree in law enforcement with 17 years experience and seven years of supervisory experience. He currently supervises over 30 officers, manages the police budget, assists in contract negotiations, manages forfeitures and emergency management responses, along with other duties.

"He came with an excellent resume and with his position as captain in the Savage Police Department he is very qualified," said Director of Public Safety Harlan Johnson, who was part of the committee. "One of the things that stood out is he really wants to be a part of this community and that reflected in his interview."

Johnson said the interview process went well with the finalists; a lot of pertinent questions were asked and good answers received from the candidates.

"It was a difficult decision, but Jeff came out as the number one choice for everyone involved," Johnson said. "He did a great job in the interview and he's got the credentials."

The interview committee, consisting of Mayor Pat Mikesh, council member Erika Randall, McKinney, Johnson, Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes and Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne, utilized a 100-point scale to evaluate and score the five candidates interviewed.

Other information related to Appel presented to the council in the committee's report included he has been a patrol sergeant, Emergency Response Unit team leader and sniper, investigator, patrolman, deputy sheriff and K-9 officer.

The committee noted with Appel's experience and knowledge he will be an asset to the City of Park Rapids. A background check is being conducted on Appel with the results expected to be available to the city council at its meeting on Tuesday. If the background check is clear and the parties agree on terms, the council will extend a contract for employment.

The city received 18 applicants for the position and through the initial screening chose five finalists to be interviewed. The five finalists interviewed last weekend were Appel; Tim Clements, recently retired from the Minnesota State Patrol; James Denny, former Grand Rapids Chief of Police; Marvin Duff, Elkader (Iowa) Chief of Police; and Scott Koennicke, Menahga Chief of Police.