ST. JOSEPH -- Friends, family and his fellow officers packed council chambers in St. Joseph Monday night to see the swearing in of the new police chief, Dwight Pfannenstein. 

A native of St. Joseph, Pfannenstein accepted the job last week, after being interim chief since April 19. Pfannenstein says one of his first priorities is getting the department back up to speed after the turbulent past few months.

He says especially with the college in town, the next few months will be busy ones for the St. Joseph Police.

"We want to get back up to staff, we're one officer short. And we are getting into the busy time of the year again once the Fourth of July is over with. Most think of that as the end of summer, for us, it's a different mentality since we've got students coming back, right around the corner."

Pfannenstein does want to make sure the public knows his department is always open.

"[I'll] continue to work with the community, keeping an open door, where people who've got concerns can easily access anybody -- myself or our police officers -- I want to make sure everyone feels welcome."

There is the question of his name on the sheriff's ballot for this year's election in Stearns County.

He has chosen to go down the path of being the police chief in St. Joseph, and will no longer actively campaign for sheriff.  It's too late to remove his name from the ballot for the August 14th primary. So people can vote for him still.

Pfannenstein says while he'd still like the opportunity to serve the entirety of Stearns County in the future, he wants to honor the faith the city council has placed in him by picking him as the permanent police chief.

Pfannenstein has been on the St. Joseph force since 2002 and had been their Sergeant since 2007.

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