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Silver Bay thanks Dow, retains police department

Silver Bay Police Chief Mitch Dow, a 20-year veteran peace officer resigned his position last week. The Silver Bay City Council accepted his resignation Tuesday. Photo by Ken Vogel

Ken Vogel

The Silver Bay City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to continue providing law enforcement services through the city’s police department, rejecting the option of contracting services through the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Last December during contract negotiations with the city’s police officers, the City requested a bid for the services from the sheriff’s office. The City entered into a new contract with its officers, but last week circumstances arose that prompted another look at the future of its police department – the resignation of Police Chief Mitch Dow.

“Now is the time to look at our options,” said Mayor Joanne Johnson at Tuesday’s meeting.

City Administrator Lana Fralich presented the council with three options for law enforcement services for the city.

First, she said, the city could continue as they have and advertise for a new chief of police. Second, it could opt to contract to Lake County Sheriff’s Office for all law enforcement services. And finally, it could choose to maintain a two or three officer department for day hours and contract with the LCSO for nighttime coverage.

The council discussed scheduling a public meeting to allow citizens to weigh in on the decision and suggested a review of the contractual requirements before making an agreement with the LCSO.

Councilor Carlene Perfetto said she believes the citizens of Silver Bay deserve their own police department. Councilor Dustin Goutermont echoed those sentiments, making a motion to retain the police department and to advertise for the chief of police vacancy.

The motion was seconded and passed unanimously. A motion to schedule a special meeting to discuss a transition plan for the department was also passed. The special meeting will take place immediately following a closed labor negotiation meeting on April 14 at 10:30 a.m.

The council voted to accept the resignation of Chief Dow.

“We want to thank Mitch for his years of service and wish him luck in his next phase or venture in life,” Johnson said.

Dow is a 20 year veteran peace officer who has served in southern Minnesota and in North Dakota. He was hired by the Silver Bay Police Department in 2006 and was promoted to chief of police in 2012. Dow told the Lake County News-Chronicle that he is taking a medical retirement from law enforcement.

“I want to thank the City of Silver Bay and all the residents for their assistance over the years,” Dow said. It is too early to say what the future holds, but I plan to stay in the area for now.”

In other council news the city approved the purchase of a heavy equipment trailer in the amount of $16,825, J.T. Starkovich was appointed to the EDA board and Owen Klinker was hired as a full- time bartender for the municipal lounge.

The council also noted that the Lake County Board of Commissioners will hold a committee- of- the- whole meeting on April 15 at 6:00 pm in the Silver Bay council chambers.