Another local law man has decided to hang up his badge.
Faribault Police Chief Andy Bohlen announced this week that he intends to retire, effective Dec. 31. That follows a Sept. 14 announcement from Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn that he will retire Nov. 12.
Bohlen, who has almost 32 years of law enforcement under his belt, grew up near Rochester, attended Kasson-Mantorville schools and joined the Army Reserves at 17. By 18, he joined the military police. Following his stint as an MP, he joined the Austin Police Department, and served as a Lakeville officer for nearly 20 years.
Bohlen began as Faribault’s chief in November 2012, succeeding his mentor, Don Gudmundson, who hired him in Lakeville two decades prior.
While in Lakeville, Bohlen held leadership roles in its drug task force, patrol, investigations and administration, and was named the city’s emergency management director.
With more than three decades of service, Bohlen said it’s time for him to step down.
It’s not uncommon for law enforcement officers with that many years of service to retire. The job can be extremely stressful and the haphazard schedule can make family life chaotic. Dunn, who has spent 33 years in law enforcement, said as much following his retirement announcement. The early retirement also allows officers to begin a second career when they’re barely into their 50s.
Bohlen said he’s enjoyed working in Faribault and getting to know the community. He’s particularly appreciative of how supportive its residents have been of the department.
Case in point: Businessman Scott Amundson is hosting a fundraiser Saturday with funds helping to ensure Faribault officers can access whatever mental health resources they need. Because officers often deal with traumatic and potentially life-threatening situations, mental health services are a critical need.
A drive around Faribault also proves Bohlen’s point. A great many yards have signs touting their support for local officers. Those signs, too, were a community-led effort.
Even after the murder of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody, the ensuing protests across the country and discussions about defunding police, Bohlen said that support never wavered. Residents of all ages regularly bring officers treats — from pizza to cookies — to the station downtown to let them know they’re appreciated.
The outpouring has so touched the chief that he plans to have the chief’s job posting note the high level of community support.
“I’m honored to work with the men and women who I work with,” he said. “One of the greatest things in my careers has been to be chief in Faribault.”
City Administrator Tim Murray said he, Bohlen and HR Director Kevin Bushard plan to meet Thursday to discuss the chief’s position profile, part of the job posting, which will be distributed statewide.
Murray isn’t sure when a new chief could begin, but said it’s likely Bohlen tenure and his successor’s won’t overlap. If that should occur, an interim chief will be named.
The interview process, he said, will probably include two rounds of interviews and a public meet and greet session, similar to one held before Murray’s hire as administrator.
“Andy is going to be a hard chief to replace,” said Murray. “He’s done a phenomenal job in his time here … his commitment and going above and beyond. I hope we can find someone with those same traits.”