The city of Princeton is turning to a 17-year veteran of its police force for its new police chief.
The Princeton City Council on Aug. 14 appointed Todd Frederick to succeed Police Chief Brian Payne, who is retiring at the end of September.
Frederick, an investigator with the department since 2008, will assume the position of chief effective Oct. 1.
The appointment came six days after Frederick, Sgt. Joe Backlund and school liaison officer Ryan Vandenheuvel interviewed for the position before a five-person panel that included Mayor Paul Whitcomb, Councilman Jules Zimmer, Superintendent of Schools Julia Espe, City Administrator Mark Karnowski and a law enforcement professional from the League of Minnesota Cities.
“We had three excellent candidates and they all did very well,” Karnowski told the City Council.
But at the end of the day, just one candidate could become police chief. Choosing Frederick was a unanimous decision among the members of the search committee, Karnowski said.
“It was a tough decision,” Whitcomb said as the three candidates for the position sat in the council chambers with many other members of the Princeton Police force.
“They were very good interviews,” Whitcomb added.
Zimmer, a former Princeton police officer, Mille Lacs County sheriff and police chief in North Branch, said: “We had some very good discussions with the candidates. It was a good process.”
Zimmer said he appreciated the three candidates who stepped up with a desire to serve the city as police chief.
The motion to appoint Frederick passed on a unanimous vote from the council members. He will start with a beginning salary of $64,798 that will increase to $67,033 after a mandatory six-month probation period.
When Payne announced his retirement in July, the City Council voted to accept applications for the position from within the Princeton Police Department. Council members said they felt the department was home to a strong group of qualified officers who deserved the opportunity to be promoted from within because of their service to the community.
That will be the case again as the city sets out to replace the investigator position currently held by Frederick.
The city will initially post the investigator position within the police department only.
If a Princeton Police officer is interested in the position, interviews and is hired, that would create a vacancy among the ranks of the police officers. A new police officer then would be hired from outside the department, Karnowski said.
Presently, with Payne at the helm of the department, the Princeton Police Department has 11 officers. Besides Payne, Frederick, Backlund and Vandenheuval, the members are K-9 officer Jason Cederberg, Kristi Kuyper, Nicole Josephes, Eric Minks, Arnie Soden, Alex Dehn and Matt Mullins.