by Dawn Feddersen-Poindexter
ECM Sun Newspapers
Jeff Beahen, the former police chief for the City of Elk River, has been selected as the new police chief for the City of Rogers.
The selection came after an exhaustive nine-month-long process to redefine the position and select the best candidate.
Beahen was Elk River’s chief from 2003 to 2010, when he left to accept a position with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in St. Paul.
Beahen said, “I’ve come to realize after a year and a half that this job is not all about how much money you make. I live in Elk River. Rogers is closer to home. I know many of the officers here. For me, I really like the city. I think it has terrific potential, great curb appeal, a great brand, and a great identity.”
Beahen and his fellow finalist for the position, Ross Gullickson, recently met with the public at an open forum designed to introduce the finalists to Rogers residents.
Gullickson is a lieutenant with the Three Rivers Park District. A Rockford resident, he said he often visits Rogers. Recently, he had the opportunity to meet many of the city’s police officers when giving them a tour and policing tips on Crow-Hassan Park Reserve in anticipation of the city’s annexation of Hassan Township, where most of the park is located.
Gullickson described his policing style as very hands-on.
He explained, “If I were lucky enough to ensure this position, you would see me in a squad car at times. I think it speaks volumes to the rank and file to see the chief out there with them. It’s important to stay connected with what’s out there.”
Bob Holtz, pastor of the Rogers Community Church, attended the forum and asked the candidates what they thought of a chaplaincy program in the Rogers Police Department.
Beahen told him that he had started a chaplaincy program in the Elk River Police Department five years ago.
“There was a need for it,” he said. “We had suicides and other incidents. The family needs someone there to help deal with the horrific scene, someone to sit with the wife and kids, help make phone calls, provide that support.”
Jim Kelley is a lifelong Hassan, now Rogers, resident and was glad to hear that both candidates were raised in Minnesota, graduates of nearby high schools, who had cut their teeth in local law enforcement agencies.
“It’s good that we get somebody from around here. Somebody comes from out of state you get the feeling it’s just temporary, they’ll move on somewhere else,” he said.
The Rogers City Council had a special meeting after the forum to choose the new chief.
“We’re very fortunate to have two incredibly well-qualified candidates,” said Council Member Jay Bunting. “Both individuals, in my estimation, could take over the police department and do a good job. The tough part is figuring out, under our circumstances, who would do the best job.”
In the end, it was Beahen’s prior experience as a successful chief of police that ultimately won him the position. Pending the results of a thorough background check, the council expects that Beahen will be sworn in as the city’s new police chief June 12.