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New Ulm's new police chief to focus on mental health

Free Press - 11/10/2018

Nov. 09--NEW ULM -- The new top cop in New Ulm says he will work to enhance mental health support, including developing a jail diversion program.

Dave Borchert, previously a NUPD commander, was appointed chief of the New Ulm Police Department this week. He replaces Myron Wieland, who retired Oct. 31 after 30 years on the force.

The city police commission interviewed two internal candidates and recommended Borchert, according to city documents.

The City Council approved the appointment on Tuesday, with a three-month probationary period.

The council also approved a first-year salary of over $101,000.

Borchert has served in the NUPD since 1999. He has been a commander for nine years, which he said has left him well prepared to be chief.

"I did all the administrative tasks that are required of me as police chief, except for one key point," he said. "As police commander I wasn't responsible for providing 'vision' of the department. Now, it's my responsibility to provide vision and I am very excited to serve in this role."

The new chief said his goals include continuing his efforts to improve "local law enforcement contact with individuals experiencing mental health challenges."

Borchert said he is working to start a jail diversion program similar to the Yellow Line Project in Blue Earth County.

The Yellow Line Project provides lower-level offenders with mental health and substance abuse issues the opportunity to avoid or reduce jail time. Offenders meet with a social worker and develop plans to go to treatment and/or participate in other community-based resources.

The county has approved funding for a new social worker position. Borchert is also the chair of the County Board. He said he's advocating for the new hire's office to be in the Law Enforcement Center and for the social worker to respond to calls with officers.

"As police chief, I am excited that I will likely be in a better position to contribute towards the development of these important and related endeavors," he said.

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(c)2018 The Free Press (Mankato, Minn.)

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