Blue Earth police woes ongoing

BLUE EARTH – Troubles in the police department continue to haunt Blue Earth City Council.

On Monday, the council voted to place Officer Chad Bonin on paid administrative leave and start an internal investigation into allegations. No other information was released.

Bonin was hired as a full-time officer in April 2012, following months of controversy. Chief Dean Vereide had announced in May 2011 that he was retiring. The council first had to decide whether it even wanted a police department, then it hired Officer Tom Fletcher as chief and Bonin to replace Fletcher as an officer.

Bonin began his police career in 2009 and has worked part time for Truman, Fairmont, Sherburn/Welcome and Trimont police departments, Fletcher reported to the council in 2012.

Meanwhile, the council is still dealing with the fallout of allegations against Officer Todd Purvis.

During Monday’s meeting, Councilman Glenn Gaylord said the council should start planning for the future.

“We need to talk about hiring another full-time officer,” he said, noting the police department was short staffed.

The topic was put on the agenda for the next meeting.

No officers have resigned their positions.

When asked after the meeting whether Purvis is no longer on the police force, City Attorney David Frundt again declined to confirm or deny Purvis’ status as an employee.

Purvis was placed on paid administrative leave in January while a criminal investigation and internal investigation were conducted.

In January, the Cottonwood County Sheriff’s Office said it would not file criminal charges against Purvis. He remained on paid administrative leave and, in early March, Blue Earth City Administrator Kathy Bailey confirmed that Worthington’s police department had turned in a report on an internal investigation.

“Eventually, decisions do need to be made. We can’t leave him on paid leave forever,” Bailey said at that time.

The council made a decision regarding Purvis in a closed session at the end of March.

“The city’s made its determination,” Frundt said. “It remains private due to contractual and statutory rights of the employee.”

Purvis and his union representative Kevin Hinrichs have declined to comment throughout the proceedings.