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Our View: Look everywhere for the best chief


November 1, 2019

Like former Chief Wade Lamirande, and Dewey Johnson before him, acting police chief Derek Randall has been a member of the Cloquet police department for years and has worked his way up the ladder at the police department. While Randall is now acting chief, soon the city council will be tasked with finding a permanent police chief.

We hope they refer to the job description and city hiring procedures and encourage both internal and external applicants this time when appointing a new chief.

A new police chief should meet the qualifications as set out in the job description, which includes advanced education and a preference for a master’s degree; 8 to 10 years of progressive police experience and a thorough understanding of civil service law, among more. That job description can be found on the city’s website.

The last police chief was appointed by the city council without any interviews or a search for other candidates. He didn’t last very long, leaving the city’s police department adrift.

The days of hiring the guy with the “fastest draw” as sheriff are long gone. Today’s modern law enforcement is a science as well as an art, and the chief should have education, experience, and proven leadership qualities.

We know sometimes it’s appropriate to hire an outside candidate when a certain job needs to be done, like when the 2014 police study suggested significant changes were needed in the police department. But sometimes it’s possible that the leader can be found already within the department.

Also the city just received a new, updated study on the police department which it should carefully consider as it searches for a new police chief.

It may take someone who’s never even heard of Cloquet to lead our police, or, it may be someone already working within the department, like Randall (who has a master’s degree in Public Safety Executive Leadership and years of experience).

But for the sake of the CPD and its residents, this police chief search needs to be thorough so the council can hire the best candidate and, just as importantly, so the public can see that everything was done properly.

That will give the new chief the mandate he or she needs to be effective and respected across the board.


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