Eric Werner, the new Rosemount Police Chief, believes education is critical to creating safe communities.
“I love this profession,” Werner said. “I’m a cop at heart. I have a passion for education and believe higher education is important to the professional police officer.”
Werner, 46, has been the police chief at Rosemount for three months now, and in those three months, he has made it a priority to engage with the community and meet community members at all levels, from residents to school administrators to business owners.
“As a police administrator, one of the things I believe in is having solid relationships with the community,” he said. “We have to rely on the help of the community, and I think that can be accomplished whether it’s a town of 21,000 or a city like Burnsville.”
Prior to becoming Rosemount’s police chief, Werner spent more than 13 years with the City of Burnsville Police Department, first as a patrol officer, then as patrol sergeant before becoming police captain for his last eight years at Burnsville. He has also worked for police departments in Addison, Ill., and Perham, Minn. His time at Burnsville enabled Werner to delve into many different issues that the larger, more diverse community faced. He feels that experience has been very helpful as he now oversees the Rosemount Police Department with 22 sworn police officers, two community service officers, five part-time and full-time support staff, and more than 10 reserve officers.
“As a new chief in the city, I think it is the role of the chief to always evaluate the resources you have,” he said. “Rosemount is developing and will become more diverse so we will have to be looking at the future needs as the community continues to develop.”
Two of his main priorities will be prescription drug abuse and domestic violence. He would like to see a prescription drug drop box put into the lobby of the Rosemount Police Department to get those prescription drugs out of homes so they aren’t accessible to children. Werner said he has a good working relationship with the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office who has put those drop boxes in other areas and will be discussing the issue with them. The drop box would be an easy and anonymous way to get prescription drugs out of homes.
“I just think the drug issue is something that is always going to be there, and we need to pay attention to it and lessen the impact of it,” he said.
But Werner won’t stop there. He wants to educate youth on the risks involved with that type of behavior to create an informed public.
“I believe if we can educate our youth and reduce the use as much as possible, we can have healthy students who will ultimately turn out to be healthy adults,” he said.
Domestic violence is a crime that affects communities on so many different levels, Werner said.
“Domestic violence does not have boundaries,” he said. “It crosses all socio-economic levels. If domestic violence is occurring, we need to create an awareness for community members to call and get other resources involved to help address the issue.”
He has enjoyed his first three months on the job and looks forward to the future in Rosemount.
“It’s a fantastic area to live in,” he said. “I believe you get the best of many worlds. You’re connected to the metro area but you also get that rural small-town feeling.”
Werner is married and has one adult son. When he is not at work, he enjoys all of the outdoor activities that Minnesota has to offer. Although Werner grew up in Illinois, he has had a connection to Minnesota since 1968 and always dreamed of having a home by a lake here.