On Monday, April 22 former Clarkfield Police Chief Ian Hodge will start his new job as Benson's Chief of Police.
"Nope. No break. Just going to get right into it. I love my job," said Hodge late Tuesday night as he collected garbage from his office in Clarkfield.
"I was very excited to hear I had gotten the job," said Hodge of his recent hire as Benson's Police Chief, a position that will have Hodge overseeing seven officers for the community that is roughly 3,500 people in size. "My wife is originally from there, but more than that it was the size of the department and it being just a good step for my career."
News of Hodge's hiring in Benson broke early last week when the Swift County Monitor-News reported that Hodge had been hired by the City of Benson to serve as their Police Chief.
Hodge received a contract offer from Benson on Saturday and accepted that offer, after reflection, on Monday. On Tuesday the City of Clarkfield received Hodge's letter of resignation. And last night, at their regular council meeting, Clarkfield accepted Hodge's resignation.
Hodge has served as Chief of Police for Clarkfield and Boyd (who, until recently, Clarkfield had contracted with to provide police services) since 2005. Prior to that he worked as a corrections officer for the Clay County Sheriff's Department in Moorhead.
"Anytime you apply for a job in law enforcement it's a lengthy process," said Hodge of his own application process. "But a guy always wants to advance in his career."
Said Clarkfield City Administrator Scott Weske, "[The city] has known about this for a while now. But, these things happen a lot, where people apply for a new job and go through the process. You really don't get too excited about it until they're offered the job. [Benson's] people had been in here on a background check. And I obviously gave [Hodge] a glowing review, because he's such a great guy."
The Clarkfield City Council, for their part, put a plan in place at their meeting Tuesday night to begin the process of replacing Hodge.
Most pressing for the council is their need to identify and hire an interim Police Chief before next week. With Hodge beginning his new job so quickly, the council will need to hastily hold a special meeting once they find someone willing to act on an interim basis for the city.
Once that hurdle is cleared, the council will then advertise for the position and begin narrowing down candidates with the goal of hiring a new chief by June.
Yet, that possibility will then most likely be vetted against the city contracting for their police services with the Yellow Medicine County Sheriff's Department, which has been an idea that's been floating around the council for the last couple years now.
Page 2 of 2 - The offer on the table from the YMCA Sheriff's Department, that the council will compare against hiring their own chief, is to provide one officer and a vehicle to the city at a cost of roughly $94,000.
Back to Hodge, "I am going to miss it here," he said. "I have a lot of friends in Clarkfield and I've developed a lot of great working relationships. I'm going to miss the people here a lot. I've made some good friends and have really enjoyed working with the local law enforcement in this area."