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DL police to revamp command structure

With the upcoming April 1 retirement of Captain Paul Goecke with the Detroit Lakes Police Department, the department will undergo a structural command change.

Rather than a chief (Kel Keena), captain (Goecke) and sergeant (Tim Eggebraaten), there will be a chief and three sergeants, with no captain.

Keena said there are several reasons for his decision to make the change.

"No. 1, I think the structure will serve current and future needs," he said.

Secondly, it will provide opportunities for sergeants in different areas of police work, he added. Right now, sergeant duty is limited to patrol.

"There is no exposure to investigation, which is the other side of the coin."

As sergeant, the officer will have more exposure to investigations.

As a benefit to the city, with three sergeants, Keena said when he decides to retire, the city will have three good options for chief, besides the option of hiring outside of the department.

With Goecke's retirement, Keena pointed out that no one will lose a job with the restructuring. The remaining two sergeants will be hired within the Detroit Lakes department, but candidates will have to go through a testing process.

There is a promotional exam and likely oral exam.

"It's all regulated by civil service rules," he said.

The restructure will also have no affect on the budget. If anything, Keena said, it might save a bit of money in the department.

Another change for April 1 is the addition of a narcotics officer at the DLPD.

Right now, DLPD has two officers -- Chad Jutz and Chad Glander -- as investigators. Keena said in the 10 years he's been with the department, there has been a push to make those two positions a promotion with more pay because of the extra responsibility. With the restructuring, Jutz and Glander could be moved around with the naming of two sergeants.

Who will end up where depends on who tests best and lands the job. One or both of the two investigators could be reassigned, which is always a possibility anyway, Keena said.

The restructuring has nothing to do with personnel, it's just the right time, since it never hurts to look at restructuring after a high-level retirement, he explained.

Keena said he has discussed the possible changes and has the full support of his staff.

"They recognize it's a good change and better suited for our department," he said.

There are 14 officers at the DLPD, and Keena said if in the future the group grows to 21, the structure may be revisited. For now, though, this will work for the office.

"It's a good move -- the timing is right. It sets the stage for future expansion. We could add four to six officers under this structure," he said.

This structure is nothing unusual for police departments. Keena said departments have been "flattening" their command structure for 15-20 years.

"It's pretty simple here -- you'll be a chief, sergeant or officer."