By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN After four months as interim chief, Justin Heldt’s new position as police chief of Winsted is finally official.
He took the oath of office at Tuesday’s Winsted City Council meeting, and is looking forward to continuing to serve the Winsted community.
“My door is always open,” Heldt said. “I always have time for anyone with questions or concerns.”
Heldt has been with the Winsted Police Department since 2007, primarily covering night shifts. He had been serving as interim police chief since former chief Mike Henrich retired Feb. 28.
“Winsted is a very proactive community,” Heldt said. “I chose to work in a small town because I want to know as many people as possible, and I want them to feel comfortable coming to me.”
Heldt, the son of Earl and Debra Heldt, graduated from Lester Prairie High School in 2002. He then attended Minnesota State University, Mankato, earning a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement in 2006.
Heldt interned with the Lester Prairie Police Department his last year of college. After graduation, he worked as a part-time officer in Lester Prairie for one year, while helping with his father’s painting business on the side.
During his seven years in Winsted, Heldt said he’s enjoyed making life better and safer for residents.
“The main reason I’m a police officer is to help people,” he said. “Knowing I can help people through a difficult situation that’s the best part of the job, by far.”
Heldt also enjoys teaching local youth, and he became a certified Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) instructor last year.
When he’s not at work, Heldt enjoys fishing, hunting, and trapping. He also spends time with family, including his siblings Jared Heldt, Mandy Sturges, and Melanie Heldt.
In the summer, Heldt can be found coaching the baseball team his 6-year-old son, Hunter, plays for in Winsted. When asked if Hunter might want to become a police officer someday, Heldt laughed and said, “I think he likes firemen better.”
To reach the Winsted Police Department, call (320) 485-2600.