Officers sworn in
When the Owatonna city council convened last week, it was to a larger crowd than usual. The Owatonna police force swore in eight officers and promoted one officer to sergeant.
“This is one of the most favorite things I get to do,” Police Chief Hiller said as he looked over the newest members of his force. Before he welcomed in the new officers though, he took a moment to recognize a veteran officer. Retired sergeant John Kristoffersen, 93, served on the Owatonna police force for 25 years and was present for the ceremony. Chief Hiller thanked him for his long years of service to the community.
When the official swearing got underway, Judge Joseph A. Bueltel came forward to officiate the new officers’ oaths. With the oath complete, a loved one came forward to pin each officer with their badge, and a blessing for safety was said over them.
After the swearing in, Chief Hiller recognized Jay Matejcek for his promotion to sergeant. Chief Hiller also handed two different commendations to officers who had done exemplary work.
Officer John Petterson was recognized for his actions in Mankato on October 3, 2016. While off-duty, Peterson saw a suspect acting aggressively toward a lone member of the Mankato police department. He intervened and helped subdue the suspect. Chief Hiller said, he was “to be commended for selflessness.”
Officer Travis Ardolf received the second commendation. On July 10, 2016, Ardolf pulled a woman over for a DUI. Noting an empty car seat, he made inquires about any children, which led him to visit the woman’s home. He found a toddler in its crib left alone in the house. He stayed with the child and provided comfort, while protective services were on their way. Chief Hiller commended him for “due diligence and compassion”, as well as his “child first approach.”
After the commendation, the officers and the public were invited to a reception to celebrate.