Eric Wener may soon be heading to Rosemount as the town's top cop.
On Monday the Rosemount City Council unanimously chose Werner, a captain with the Burnsville Police Department, to take the position. Werner beat out two other finalists for the spot: Apple Valley captain Michael Marben and Jewel Ericson, a longtime lieutenant in the Rosemount police department.
The vote comes after a , which included two community panels, multiple interviews and an open house with residents. By all accounts, Werner made quite an impression: 10 of the 11 people who served on two panels chose him as their top candidate and the council also got positive feedback about him during the open house.
“I think he is articulate. He has a great resume. He is probably in the best position to lead this department for the next five, 10, 15 years,” council member Matt Kearney said of Werner, according to the Rosemount Town Pages.
According to the local newspaper, council members felt that Werner was the best choice for the city as it continues to develop. Rosemount has experienced explosive growth over the last 10 years, with it's population rising almost 50 percent from 2000 to 2010.
Werner has a bachelor's in organizational management and communication from Concordia University and a master's police leadership, education and administration from the University of St. Thomas. He has 24 years of direct experience in law enforcement. He began his career at a department in a Chicago suburb, then moved to Perham before coming to Burnsville in 1999. He was promoted to captain in 2004.
Werner is also a resident, another factor that played into the council's decision. According to the local newspaper, Werner has lived in Rosemount for the last 12 years. During his interview, Werner said he felt that the transition would be relatively easy.
“I don’t view myself as a total stranger,” Werner reportedly told council members. “I work in this county. I live in this community.”
Werner's appointment to the Rosemount PD could be official as soon as the council’s Aug. 21 meeting. His possible departure comes at a time of great change for the Burnsville PD. This month, . Werner and fellow Capt. Eric Gieseke were named as possible successors.
On Tuesday, Hawkins said that the BPD is working on the assumption that Werner will accept the position in Rosemount. Werner's move to Rosemount and Hawkin's impending retirement will create a domino effect in the department.
"There's a lot of change going on, and for us that's exciting," Hawkins said. "It opens up all sorts of different opportunities for people working here."
To fill the vacant captain position, the BPD will likely look for a replacement among its 14 sergeants. Hawkins expect to have a new captain selected within the next few weeks.
Werner will be missed, however.
"He's phenomenal. He'll do a great job there," Hawkins said. "(Werner) is very well-rounded: He understands the need for enforcement, putting bad guys in jail—the traditional view—but he also truly understands the need to engage the public. We rely on those 60,000 eyes and ears in the community to keep Burnsville safe and he was exceptional at establishing that trust."