Burnsville man sworn in as newest APD officer

Published 7:30 am Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Austin should be a good fit for Ross Johnson.

The city’s newest police officer, who was sworn in during a Monday morning ceremony, said this part of the state has always been a favorite locale of his.

“I love southeastern Minnesota,” Johnson, a 32-year-old graduate of Minnesota State University-Mankato, said. “I want to stay in Austin and build a career here.”

Johnson, who currently lives in Burnsville, Minn., will be getting that chance, but he first needs to do a bit of training. On Monday, after picking up his new badge, he got his first tour of the Austin Police Department and met with fellow officers. Next, he will complete two weeks of “in-house training” before doing up to three months of training in the field.

Johnson said he’s excited for all of that and excited to move his family to Austin — something he noted will be done “slowly and patiently.”

He currently lives with girlfriend Kristen Malmberg, and the two are raising six children between the ages of 9 and 9 months together, a situation Johnson likened to the “Brady Bunch.”

The bunch will be making its way to Austin, but Johnson said that’ll happen after Jacob Miller, 9, finishes the current school year.

In the meantime, Johnson said he’ll be living with military friends in the area. The new Austin officer’s last full time job was as a National Guard recruiter, and he has also served with the National Guard Military Police — a job that took him to Guatemala and Germany, among other places.

Johnson said his career path has been something he just “stumbled upon,” noting that he’s the first cop in his family. But he’s also enjoyed every minute of it.

“I like interacting with the community,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s father Ronald, who attended Monday’s ceremony, said police work was never for him growing up, but he was proud that his son has found something he loved.

The elder Johnson added that he thinks Ross will fit in well with the APD.

“I think he’s going to like it down here,” Ronald Johnson said. “It’s a beautiful corner of the state.”

Det. Brian Krueger and Lt. John Mueller, who are both filling in for the recently retired chief Paul Philipp, also said they see Ross Johnson fitting in well with the other 28 officers in the department.

Krueger said he was particularly excited about Ross Johnson’s real-world experience — in addition to his time with the National Guard, Ross Johnson worked with the Lakeville Police Department from 2000 to 2004.

“He comes with experience … (and) he’s not fresh out of school,” Krueger said. “All of those things are positive.”

And pretty soon, Johnson will be putting that experience to use on the streets of Austin.

Officer promoted

In other police department news, a long-time officer will be moving up the ranks.

Joe Milli, who has been with the department for a little more than 24 years, was officially approved as a new sergeant Monday night by city council.

The approval included a ceremonial “pinning” of new pins to Milli’s uniform collar.