New Jamestown police chief looks at technology, trainingJamestown’s new police chief is expected to bring a high level of energy and enthusiasm to the office, according to officials that appointed him to the post on Jan. 12.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Jamestown’s new police chief is expected to bring a high level of energy and enthusiasm to the office, according to officials that appointed him to the post on Jan. 12.
Scott Edinger assumed the post immediately to replace Dave Donegan, who retired effective Dec. 31. During the transition, Lt. John Gletne served as interim police chief.
“Scott is very ambitious and not afraid to take charge,” said Ramone Gumke, city councilman. “He has experience dealing with higher liability issues as the commander of the SOT (Special Operations Team).”
SOT is a multi-agency force used in special situations such as hostage-taking or major crimes.
Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen echoed those comments.
“He has a good energy level supplemented by enthusiasm for the Jamestown Police Department,” she said.
Edinger joined the Jamestown Police Department in 1994 after serving with the Niobrara County, Wyo., sheriff’s office.
“I grew up in Lusk, Wyoming,” he said. “But my dad graduated from Jamestown High School and I had a lot of family around here. It kind of seemed like the right-sized town for me.”
In 18 years he worked through the ranks of JPD rising to the rank of detective. He has also served with the drug taskforce and the SOT.
Now as the highest ranking officer in the department, he doesn’t intend to stay in his office.
“He expressed that a police chief is more than a paper pusher,” Andersen said. “He needs to be a role model for the officers and employees of the department.”
Edinger is also interested in expanding the use of technology within the department.
“We want to do everything we can to make the job more efficient and keep the officers on the street,” he said. “It is not uncommon for an officer to spend one hour on the street and the rest of the shift doing paperwork.”
One of the first steps is to provide mobile data terminals in the police cars. This would allow officers to do paperwork in the car rather than having to return to the Law Enforcement Center.
Edinger said the police cars have computers but don’t have wireless connections to let them send information from the field.
“You can do pretty much anything, anywhere if you have a cell signal” with that technology, he said.
Other goals Edinger has set for the department includes creating more training opportunities and working with the officers concerning shifts and scheduling.
“I want to give the officers a chance to evolve within the department and implement changes,” he said.
These goals fit within the City Council’s requirements for the police chief.
“He knows there are things to address for budgeting and overtime,” Andersen said. “He is emphasizing technology and wants all the employees able to use the technology to its fullest extent.”
Gumke anticipates there may be other changes in the future.
“Anytime you come off a long-term department head there are things that can stand to be changed,” he said. “Things have stayed at the status quo for a long time.”
Edinger’s appointment to the chief position marks the second change in leadership within Stutsman County law enforcement agencies in the past years. Chad Kaiser was elected sheriff of Stutsman County in 2010 replacing Dave Orr at that post.
“I think he’ll work out well,” Kaiser said. “Edinger’s leadership on the drug task force and the SOT are a big part of the experience that is going to serve him well as police chief.”
Edinger said the department faces many of the same challenges it has faced the past years.
“Drugs are still a problem with meth making a comeback although prescription drugs are about equal,” he said. “Online scams still continue to innovate. It is tough to keep a handle on them.”
The Jamestown Police Department employs 29 police officers, three office staff and one animal control officer.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org