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Paynesville Press - May 7, 2003

City hires new police officer

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

The city of Pynesville will welcome Chuck Buggs as its new police officer next week. Buggs will report for duty on Wednesday, May 15.

The city council voted unanimously to hire Buggs, based on a recommendation from the personnel committee, at a special meeting on Wednesday, April 30.

Buggs, a five-year law enforcement veteran, has spent the last two years as the chief of a two-man police force in Lincoln, N.D., a small city near Bismark.

Raised in Winona, Minn., Buggs earned a degree in criminal justice and law enforcement from Winona State University. Before taking a position in Lincoln, he worked in Lewiston and later in Winona, where he decided he preferred working in small towns.

Buggs is excited about his new position in Paynesville. Since the Lincoln police department is so small, he currently acts as a patrol officer as well as the chief of police. Even though he likes his job, he isn't crazy about the administrative duties of the chief and is looking forward to concentrating on being a patrol officer.

While in North Dakota, Buggs kept his Minnesota license current. According to council member Dave Peschong, North Dakota laws are very similar to Minnesota's, and it should not be difficult for Buggs to make the transition back to Minnesota.

The opening in the police department was created when officer Kent Kortlever was chosen to replace Tony Schmidt as the chief of police when Schmidt retires at the end of May.

The city had 68 applicants for the position and interviewed six. There were other applicants who were also qualified, but Buggs stood out because of his general personality and because officials thought he would fit in with the other members of the police department, said city administrator Steve Helget.

Buggs's employment is contingent upon passing a physical and psychological evaluation, said Peschong, but he doesn't think these will be an obstacle.

Buggs, his wife Tricia and their almost three-year-old daughter Alayna will be moving to Paynesville. They are looking forward to living closer to their families.

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