Retiring chief praises Police Department; gives ‘state of the department’ report
WILLMAR -- Willmar Police Chief David Wyffels, who retires May 31, attended his last City Council meeting Monday night and praised the department where he has served since 1981, including the last four years as chief.
WILLMAR - Willmar Police Chief David Wyffels, who retires May 31, attended his last City Council meeting Monday night and praised the department where he has served since 1981, including the last four years as chief.
“The Willmar Police Department is a solid and well-functioning organization,’’ Wyffels told the council at the end of an hour-long meeting.
In a “state of the department’’ report, Wyffels summarized where the department sits in the areas of equipment, squad cars, budget and staff.
He said equipment (the more expensive items) such as portable breath testing devices, recorders, tasers, tint meters, radar/lidar units, cameras, firearms and radios are all up-to-date and well-maintained.
He expects no additional repair costs this year and foresees no need to replace any equipment during the next three to five years.
However, in approximately two to three years, the squad car camera system will need replacing in all marked squad cars, an estimated $45,000 to $48,000. He said repairs are being made as necessary while waiting for a possible merger of body-cams worn by an officer and squad-mounted cameras.
“This may (or may not) happen. But for right now it is the most logical and economical approach until such time as the squad cameras have to be directly addressed,’’ he said. “We have only been spending an average of $800 per year on repair for the squad camera systems now, and at $4,500 a pop, we don’t feel it’s necessary to replace them.’’
Wyffels said department vehicles are also in great shape and said the department can easily follow the council’s vehicle replacement schedule. “Simply following that plan of replacement will allow this agency to maintain a sound fleet,’’ he said.
Wyffels said the budget is 3.19 percent under normal budgetary expenditures for the year thus far.
“This figure represents good budget management and does not reflect any practice of delayed responses to necessary purchases,’’ he said.
Additionally, it includes some purchases that would normally have been made later this year but were made earlier, recognizing the upcoming transition and being cognizant of trying to reduce any difficulties a new department head might encounter when coming on board, he said.
Wyffels said he is working on replenishing the expected May 31 staffing deficiencies, which include retirement of Sgt. Julie Asmus, who also joined the department in 1981.
“I should have the entry-level officer hiring process completed to a point where the city is ready to make an offer to acceptable applicants just prior to my leave. I anticipate the hiring of two new officers at that time and depending upon what happens with my replacement will determine whether or not a third applicant is pulled from the same hiring list,’’ Wyffels said.
He said the promotional process for the upcoming sergeant vacancy has been completed. The top candidate will be identified and offered the promotion after Tuesday’s Police Commission meeting.
Wyffels said all other staff members are fully trained in their respective areas, and he expects that level of training to continue as needed.
“If you have been following the news over the past few days, you can see that activity is starting to ramp up for the summer,’’ he said.
“But I believe under the right guidance and direction, the Willmar Police Department is certainly capable of handling the job. I am proud of the men and women I work with and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work among such professionals,’’ he said.
Mayor Frank Yanish thanked Wyffels for his service and assistance and for helping council members as well.
Councilman Denis Anderson announced an open house honoring Wyffels and Asmus will be from 2-4 p.m. May 30 at the emergency operations center.