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APD will look to city council for permission to fill captain vacancy

Published 6:54am Thursday, December 31, 2009

Curt Rude was officially dismissed as Austin police captain Tuesday, a city official confirmed.

John Beckmann, assistant city attorney, said a notice of dismissal was mailed to Rude after the Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training revoked his license Monday. That revocation makes Rude unable to be a cop in any capacity in Minnesota.

The former captain was found guilty of felony drug possession by a jury in November and acquitted on a felony theft charge. He was sentenced Dec. 21, but will not receive jail time — or a felony on his record — if he abides by his five-year probation. He will also perform 200 hours of community service as part of his sentence.

According to the POST Board, this sentence is a moot point — the conviction alone was enough to revoke the license.

The revocation went into effect immediately.

Police chief Paul Philipp said Wednesday that the department will now look to city council for permission to fill the captain vacancy. Council’s next meeting is Monday, but Philipp said he doesn’t expect the issue to be up for discussion that soon.

“It’s still really fresh,” he said of the recent developments.

The chief said there are some qualified internal candidates, and added that some Austin cops have expressed interest in the job, though he did not specify any names.

Philipp said the two plus years without a captain has been a strain on the department, as officers have all had to pick up more responsibilities. However, he said his staff is doing a good job with a difficult situation.

“All things considered, the department has handled things pretty well,” he said.

Charges were originally filed against Rude in December 2007 after he took two bottles of the prescription painkiller OxyContin prescribed to Mark Johnson from the APD’s evidence room.

Johnson, a close friend of Rude’s and a former KAAL-TV reporter, died of an OxyContin overdose earlier that year.

Rude was put on unpaid leave by the Austin Police Department after he was charged. Since then, the former captain has worked as a cross-country truck driver.

Rude did not return a call for comment on this story, but his attorney Peter Wold said during his November trial that Rude was not a thief, drug convict or felon. After the sentencing, Wold said his client would move forward with his life.

“It brings to an end a chapter (in Rude’s life),” Wold said. “But it certainly doesn’t end the whole book.”


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