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Erik Burgess, Published September 23 2013

Dilworth promotes longtime officer to acting police chief

DILWORTH – City leaders here picked a short-term replacement for the recently resigned police chief on Monday night.

The City Council voted 4-0 to assign Officer Brad Browning the duties of active police chief while the city continues to look for an interim chief.

Former Police Chief Josh Ebert resigned on Sept. 9 after a tough, 19-month tenure where he endured complaints and a vote of no confidence from his officers.

Mayor Chad Olson said on Monday night the city needs someone in the active chief role to sign reports and perform other administrative duties.

“We’re still kind of in this administrative purgatory, so to speak,” Olson said.

Olson said he spoke to Browning on Monday afternoon and that the officer said he was willing to take over the position.

“He is the senior-most member of the police department,” Olson said of Browning. “He will handle those responsibilities with the utmost professionalism.”

But Browning, who has been a Dilworth officer since 1999, will only be in the position for one to two weeks while the city seeks to hire an actual interim chief, said City Administrator Ken Parke.

The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association is looking into three candidates for interim Dilworth police chief, Parke said. The candidates are from the region, but Parke said the chiefs association has not specified where they are from or their names.

Parke expects the association to provide a recommendation within the next two weeks.

The Dilworth committee tasked with finding a new chief – Olson, Parke and Councilwoman Julie Nash – is expected to interview the recommended candidate, Parke said.

Parke said he is “certain” the interim chief will serve for less than a year while the committee seeks a full-time police chief.

“It’ll give the committee time to look at all the options that we’re considering, which at this point it’s kind of tough to talk about,” he said. “I think our biggest concern is to get somebody in there to provide some administrative direction.”

Since Ebert’s resignation on Sept. 9, a committee composed of Olson, Nash and Parke has been responsible for Police Department administrative duties.

Instead of City Hall running things until an interim chief is hired, the committee recommended putting the most-senior officer in charge.

Councilman Jim Aasness was absent from Monday night’s meeting.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518