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Northern Minn. police chief cited for DWI plans to retire

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Bryce Haugen

Forum News Service

SEBEKA, Minn. -- Recently cited for driving while impaired, Sebeka’s police chief has decided to retire.

Eric Swenson, 48, has been a police officer for nearly 30 years and the Sebeka chief since 2007. Council members will address his retirement notice during a special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday in the council chambers. They’ll also discuss the future of the city’s police department.

The meeting is now open to the public. Minnesota law requires closed meetings for employee evaluation - the original purpose of Monday’s meeting. Because Swenson intends to retire, that provision no longer applies.

“Hopefully we can get this put behind us,” Sebeka Mayor David Anderson said Thursday.

Anderson said he’s “never had a problem with (Swenson’s) police work.”

When it comes to the chief’s off-duty behavior, “I’m not going to comment on that,” Anderson said.

A police officer in nearby New York Mills stopped Swenson, Sebeka’s only full-time cop, just outside of city limits on Feb. 26 and cited him for DWI. The police report won’t be available until Swenson appears in Otter Tail County District Court. No court date has been scheduled.

Swenson was suspended for 30 days last summer after a fifth-degree domestic assault misdemeanor charge. That case is ongoing, with a pretrial scheduling conference slated for Monday.

Earlier last year, Swenson pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor prompted by “drunk and belligerent” behavior at a bar in Huntersville, according to the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office. The judge fined Swenson and sentenced him to 30 days in jail stayed for one year of probation, which requires him to stay out of trouble.

In an interview last year after his arrests, Swenson said he intended to retire on April 1, 2015, because of work-related injuries, difficulty keeping up with younger officers and the politics that go with the job.

“(I) think 30 years is enough,” he said. “I wanna do something else.”

Attempts to reach Swenson Thursday were unsuccessful.

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Forum News Service
The Forum Communications News Service is the premier news wire service covering the Upper Midwest, stretching from the oilfields of western North Dakota to the plains of South Dakota and to the shores of eastern Minnesota. For more information about the services we offer or to discuss content subscriptions, please contact us.
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