by Dennis Dalman
Sartell residents will soon have a new police chief, any day now, according to Nikki Sweeter, City of Sartell engagement director.
The two finalist candidates from among the applicants for the position are Brent Bukowski and Brandon Silgjord. They recently both attended an informal, open meeting Feb. 23 at the Sartell Community Center.
The current police chief, Jim Hughes, will retire March 31 after serving the department for 32 years.
Brandon Silgjord started his career in law enforcement in 2006 with the Pequot Lakes Police Department and Morrison County Sheriff’s Office.
Since 2009 he has worked for the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, in northeast Minnesota. He spent his first six years in the Duluth Patrol Division as a deputy sheriff, serving in a number of roles, including K-9 (dog assistant) handler, operator of the SWAT program and as a field-training officer.
Silgjord was promoted to patrol sergeant in 2015 out of the Duluth District of Operations. He continued handling a dual-purpose German shepherd (a K-9 named Kilo) through 2018. While holding the rank of sergeant, he completed assignments as an FTO Supervisor, SWAT sniper, academy lead patrol-tactics instructor and did oversight of St. Louis County’s Water Patrol grants and enforcement efforts.
In 2020, he was promoted to the role of supervising deputy commander, overseeing law-enforcement operations in the Hibbing District of St. Louis County. In 2021, he transferred to Duluth and took command of 911 communications and emergency management operations for the sheriff’s office where he is still assigned at this time.
Silgjord earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Central Lakes College and a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement from Metropolitan State University, where he graduated with highest honors (summa cum laude). He is also a 2019 graduate of the National Command and Staff College, earning a MAGNUS leadership award for command and staff leadership, Class 2003.
Brent Bukowski, who grew up in central Minnesota, started his law enforcement career as a police officer in 1999 with the Sauk Rapids Police Department.
He has more than 20 years of public-safety experience.
In 2006, backed by strong community support, he restarted the K-9 unit within the police department. While partnered with his K-9, named Storm, he rose in rank to sergeant later that year.
Along with Storm, Bukowski provided K-9 support to the central Minnesota area, serving as a tactical operator with the St. Cloud Police Department’s SWAT Team. During his tenure as a sergeant with the Sauk Rapids Police Department, he has performed a major role in the leadership team to strengthen staffing, technology and equipment.
In addition to his service in law enforcement, Bukowski serves as a third generation paid on-call firefighter with the Sauk Rapids Fire Department. He also serves as an instructor in active-threat integrated-response training.
Bukowski has a bachelor-of-science degree in public administration, with an emphasis in emergency management, from Upper Iowa University and is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.