WAITE PARK -- The Waite Park Police Department is growing.

During Monday's city council meeting, the council approved the hiring of three full-time police officers. The approval increases the number of full-time police officers from 18 to 21.

Police Chief Dave Bentrud because Waite Park is a high retail community, they've had a need for additional officers.

During the day our population grows to 25,000 to 30,000 people who are coming into town for shopping, eating and things like that. We've wanted to do this for a long time and just got our staffing stabilized enough where we are able to grow.

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Bentrud says with the three additional officers, it also gives them the opportunity to implement a Community Outreach Team.

We are becoming more diverse as a community and we need to do some community trust building, so I've very excited about the capabilities this team will be able to bring in those efforts.

The team would be involved in a number of different community related tasks, support youth and senior programming, as well as every day patrol and investigative work.

Bentrud says he will be working with his staff to hopefully have the team in place by the end of this year.

The new officer hires were made possible through the federal COPS grant Waite Park was awarded last year.


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