Carlson appointed public safety director

Published 10:11 pm Monday, August 27, 2018

The Albert Lea City Council unanimously appointed J.D. Carlson public safety director on Monday.

J.D. Carlson

Carlson had served as Albert Lea Police Department deputy director of police since January 2014. He was chosen for the position over Albert Lea Police Department Lt. Darren Hanson and Jace Smith, director of the Lane Community College Public Safety Department.

Carlson said he applied so he can continue the city’s public service model, which includes one person overseeing Albert Lea Fire Department and police.

“Both departments are well-respected independently and want to retain their histories, so that’s what we’re looking for right now,” he said. “I simply want time to absorb this. I’m quite honored and humbled with the opportunity, and I think ultimately I want to meet with staff and see what staff recommendations are and move forward from there.”

Carlson was one of eight original candidates for the position. The application process has included phone and in-person interviews.

Two interview panels were used in the process. One included department staff and a community member previously involved with the Fire Department. The other included three city councilors and Adams.

A Marine, Carlson began as a patrol officer in Albert Lea in February 1997.

The position has been empty since former Public Safety Director Dwaine Winkels retired in March. He became public safety director in 2012 after the city reorganized departments.

“I want to be a resource for both police and fire and be there to provide support and structure and vision for both and be a team partner for both organizations,” Carlson said.

In other action, the council:

Scheduled a 7 p.m. Sept. 4 public hearing at City Hall for the planned new Albert Lea Fire Department station. Projected costs to build at Blazing Star Landing and in the area of the Freeborn County Law Enforcement Center are expected by then.

Approved a conditional use permit for Verizon Wireless and Buell Consulting to build a 109-foot-tall communication tower at Freeborn County Fairgrounds. The Albert Lea Planning Commission had a public hearing of the plan Aug. 7 and is recommending approval with certain conditions.

Requested Minnesota Department of Transportation approval to install dynamic speed signs near the south lanes of Minnesota Highway 13 south of Sunset Street and near the north lanes of U.S. Highway 69, north of Southview Lane. The signs are similar to the signs installed in 2015 along Highway 13 near Euclid Avenue and U.S. Highway 65 near Ulstad Avenue.

Approved an $800 donation from the Southeast Minnesota Realtors Association to purchase smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for the Fire Department’s smoke detector program and $300 by the Realtors Association for the drinking water and bottle filler project.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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