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Two officers join police department

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Among several other changes in the last six months, the Detroit Lakes Police Department has also hired two new police officers.

Officers Philip Vaughn and Wayne Striebel were sworn into office last week.

Striebel is married with four sons and has served with the Red Lake Tribal Police and as a Traverse County deputy.

"There is a lot of beauty and activity here," he said. "I'm pleased and proud to be here."

Vaughn was born and raised in New York Mills and has worked as a part-time officer in Perham before coming to Detroit Lakes.

Those are just two of the latest changes to the DLPD as of late -- and likely hopefully the last two for a while.

In a year-end report Chief Tim Eggebraaten submitted to the Detroit Lakes City Council last month, he said, "To say that 2012 has been a challenging year for the DLPD would be a gross understatement."

Personnel changes

It began with officer Chad Jutz's death in May, and was followed by injuries to officers Eric Bergren and Matt Brun. Officer Brent Fulton was also out on family leave for a period of time with the birth of his son.

Brun eventually resigned from his post in December.

Chad Paddock was hired in July but then resigned from the department in November. After his 11 weeks of field training, Eggebraaten said, "it was apparent that there was a lack of chemistry between the DLPD and Officer Paddock."

During the constant shuffle of officers throughout the summer and fall, several area officers assisted the police department.

"We are looking forward to the day when we will have our two new officers on the street and we can get back to some kind of normalcy," Eggebraaten said.

"I can't stress enough how extremely proud I am of our officers for not only getting through 2012 after facing adversity, but continuing to grow and excel as a team and as individual officers."

Also at the first of the year, some officers were reassigned, which is done on a regular basis "in order to keep pushing for diversity and giving our officers the benefits of cross-training experience."

Officer Beau Shroyer is back on patrol and Officer Brent Fulton is now the school resources officer.

Officer Tami Hunt is also now back on patrol, and Officer Eric Bergren has taken her place as investigator.

The sergeant positions have stayed the same: Chris Phillips is night shift supervisor and firearms instructor; Chad Glander is investigations and school resource officer supervisor; and Robert Strand is day patrol supervisor and K-9 handler.

"All three of our sergeants are developing into very solid leaders for our agency," Eggebraaten said.

Equipment changes

Last fall, the police department switched over to the TAC-10 Record Management System and mobile computers.

"As with any change, the transition wasn't pain free, but we are adjusting well to the new system," said Eggebraaten.

The system allows the police department to share data easier with the Becker County Sheriff's Office, White Earth Tribal Police and Clearwater County Sheriff's Office. It also allows more information to be inputted on the initial call rather than notes taken down on a piece of paper.

"No computers were dropped into the lake or given a few shots with a taser, but I believe the thought may have crossed more than one mind," he said.

Also last fall, the department began "e-charging," where criminal complaints are signed electronically and forwarded to the prosecuting authority.

Each squad car has been equipped with laptops to allow officers to complete reports, access information and more, all from their vehicles.

"The squad car is the patrol officer's office, and the computers have increased our efficiency," Eggebraaten said in his report.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.