The Willmar City Council correctly approved the recommendation to hire two replacement police officers.
The council's decision was decided by Mayor Frank Yanish's tiebreaking vote in support of the police officer hires, which was recommended by the Labor Relations Committee, City Administrator Charlene Stevens and Police Chief David Wyffels.
We commend Yanish for finally showing some leadership and standing with council members Doug Reese, Denis Anderson, Rick Fagerlie and Bruce DeBlieck to hire the additional police officers.
Under former police chief Jim Kulset and current chief Wyffels, the Willmar Police Department has been consistently responsible in its budget and staffing, while at the same time dealing with population growth and changing services needs of the city. In fact, the department has been operating with less personnel than in the past.
Thus, it is important for the council to listen to Wyffels when a Willmar police staffing request is made.
As Councilman Reese pointed out, the Willmar citizens rate public safety as the highest ranked service and it is important to maintain the core services of the police department.
It is unfortunate that councilman Steve Ahmann joined the "do nothing" trio of council members Ron Christianson, Jim Dokken and Tim Johnson in opposing the hiring decision. When these members adopt their "do nothing" strategy, they are often limiting and/or hurting Willmar's potential and leadership.
Thank you to Reese, Anderson, Fagerlie, DeBlieck and Yanish for standing up to the "do nothings" and supporting an important priority for Willmar citizens.