BP hires new police chief

Published 9:12 am Sunday, June 8, 2014

By Ashley Stewart, Owatonna People’s Press

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — Greg Skillestad, who is currently a Steele County sheriff’s deputy, will be the new Blooming Prairie police chief.

On Monday, the Blooming Prairie City Council held a special meeting where it unanimously selected Skillestad as the new police chief, said Blooming Prairie Mayor H. Peterson.

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Skillestad was one of more than 20 applicants who applied for the position that was posted in March after Blooming Prairie Police Chief Paul Wayne announced he would be retiring soon.

Blooming Prairie City Administrator Mike Jones said the city received a few applications from individuals in Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, New York, Georgia, Maine, New Jersey, Ohio and from as far away as Florida and Alaska.

Since then, the city’s Employee Replacement Committee narrowed down the number of applicants and interviewed them.

Because the city council’s monthly meeting was pushed back a week, the council called a special meeting Monday to hire Skillestad, who lives in Blooming Prairie with his wife and children.

“We wanted to get the motion done to have him on board before the Fourth of July,” Peterson said. “We are pleased to have a man of his caliber as our police chief.”

Wayne, who has been the Blooming Prairie Police chief for nearly 20 years, will retire in mid-June, and Skillestad will begin as police chief on June 16.

“It’s great,” Skillestad said. “I’m looking to continue the great service that the Blooming Prairie Police Department provides by following in Paul Wayne’s footsteps in working with the schools and working with the current employees.”

Skillestad started his law enforcement career about 20 years ago, but has been a deputy in Steele County for nine years.

“As a patrol deputy, I’ve responded with the Blooming Prairie police officers quite a bit,” he said. “We’ve worked hand-in-hand, so I know the residents and the employees and how great they work.”

Skillestad said his family has been extremely supportive.

“They’re extremely excited,” he said. “It’s truly exciting. I’m really looking forward to working with the citizens in Blooming Prairie.”