W’bago police chief takes job in Fairmont

FAIRMONT – Officer Mike Beletti has been with the Fairmont police department on a part-time basis since 2010. His recent promotion to full time has caused some complications.

Beletti has served in the Winnebago Police Department since 2009. With the retirement of Police Chief Bob Toland in November, Beletti was offered the job.

“I was already halfway through the hiring process with Fairmont when I was offered the chief position,” Beletti said. “It was uncertain because of the high competition [for the Fairmont position], so it was hard not to say yes to a sure thing.”

“We had close to 50 applicants for the one position,” confirmed Fairmont Police Chief Greg Brolsma. “The selection process began in October … We were down three officers than what we were used to. We lost a detective in 2011, and we had the retirements of Officer Gene Austin and Sgt. Lowell Spee this past fall.”

As it turned out, Beletti was the front-runner for the open position in Fairmont.

“We like what he gives us, he fits in super-well,” Brolsma said. “We’re excited to get a new officer up and running because it had been an issue that was frustrating to the people we serve.”

Beletti was offered the job locally shortly after he took over as Winnebago’s police chief.

“It really had been my goal to get on the Fairmont P.D.,” Beletti said. “I wanted the opportunity that there was in Fairmont; there was more room for me to grow, there were smaller steps. In smaller towns like Winnebago, you’re either the officer or the chief. When I learned I had the No. 1 spot for the Fairmont job, I couldn’t turn it down.”

Beletti let officials in Winnebago know at the time of his taking the police chief position that he had tested for a job in Fairmont. He is currently serving as Winnebago’s police chief, and has given an end date of Jan. 3. He will begin full time in Fairmont on Jan. 9.

Beletti also provides part-time police coverage in Blue Earth.

“We will work together to get them the coverage they need,” Brolsma said. “It is a predicament when you don’t have an officer for coverage, and you’re only a call away from needing one.”