by Dennis Dalman
Sartell Police Chief Jim Hughes received bouquets of verbal praise and a warm retirement send-off at the March 13 city-council meeting.
After 32 years of service on the Sartell Police Department, Hughes will retire on March 31. Recently, the city announced it had hired a new police chief to replace Hughes – Brandon Silgjord, supervising deputy of the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department in northwest Minnesota.
Hughes was the third police chief in Sartell’s history. He was hired by the department in 1991, worked steadily under a variety of jobs and ranks and was named chief in 1996, replacing previous chief Robert Ringstrom, who had retired.
At the March 13 council meeting, after delivering their praise, good wishes and thank-you comments, the council members presented Hughes with a big wooden plaque showing the American flag, a police chief badge and the big word “RETIRED” on the bottom of it.
The following are paraphrased comments from the council members:
Jed Mayer: You kept the city safe year after year as the city grew so much. You demonstrated character and integrity, and you will be missed as you leave a great legacy.
Alex Lewandowski: You had a great effect on our city and the individuals in it.
Jill Smith: Sartell was once a village and then it grew so much, thanks in part to you. So enjoy a very well deserved retirement. Congratulations.
Tim Elness: Because you created a wonderful department, you set us up for success. Thank you very much for your service.
Mayor Ryan Fitzthum: When Hughes was hired by the Sartell Police Department, on Feb. 9, 1991, I (Fitzthum) was 6 years old. There were 5,834 people living in the city at that time. There were six police officers; now there are 10. There were just a few Reserve officers; now there are 15. There were only two marked squad cars; now there are 12. You (Hughes) led through vast community-engagement efforts. Thank you for public safety, for helping with youth and for your large individual impact on our community.
Hughes thanked the council for their comments and accepted the large plague they gave him. He has said he plans to do some traveling in his retirement.