By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, MN After whittling down 17 applicants from throughout the US to eight semifinalists, and interviewing four finalists April 19, Howard Lake City Council chose Lieutenant Colonel Dave Thompson of Clarksville, TN as the new Howard Lake Police Chief.
Although living in Tennessee at this time, Thompson is a native of Watertown, having lived there through the eighth grade.
His family moved to the Twin Cities area, where he graduated from Roseville High School.
Retiring after a 20-year military career, Thompson’s most recent assignment was in Afghanistan leading a military police division training and equipping Afghan forces for long-term autonomy, according to Howard Lake City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller.
Thompson noted he and his family are excited to be coming “home” after 20 years.
“I only looked for jobs in Minnesota, because my wife, Amy, is also from Minnesota (Woodbury). We both have family in the Twin Cities and want to be close to them,” Thompson said.
It is unclear at this time when Thompson will begin his duties, as he is still in the process of retiring and will have to move to Minnesota from Tennessee. However, it will be at least a month or two, and possibly longer, Haggenmiller noted.
In the meantime, Thompson will be looking for a house in Howard Lake, Waverly, or Winsted so his daughters, Hannah, 16, and Alexandra, 13, can attend the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School.
“I applied for the Howard Lake (police chief) job because my family is familiar with the area, and Amy and I think that HLWW High School is a great place for the girls to go to school and get a great education in a small-town environment that is close to the Twin Cities,” Thompson said.
Although he cannot speak for Howard Lake City Council, Haggenmiller said he thought the council was impressed with Thompson’s leadership traits and his success through some “pretty horrible” situations as a military police officer.
“Thompson’s leadership, structure, and approachability will serve the city well,” Haggenmiller said. “Likewise, we are fortunate to have two incredibly talented officers (Sergeant and interim Police Chief Eric Anderson and Officer Darek Szczepanik) to not only carry the torch in the interim, but, as we transition, ensure a collaborative force is maintained.”