New Brighton names new director of Department of Public Safety


Tony Paetznick

Trevor Hamdorf

Tony Paetznick to lead his hometown police force

When New Brighton’s former public safety director Bob Jacobson retired in July after a 33-year career in the department, Tony Paetznick was handed the reins and became the acting director. 

The “acting,” however, was dropped on Nov. 28 as City Manager Dean Lotter announced that Paetznick, 39, has been appointed New Brighton’s new public safety director. 

In a manner of speaking, Paetznick joined the department in 1991, when he was just a junior at Irondale High School. 

“I took a career interest survey which told me that I would be a good math teacher or police officer,” Paetznick said in an interview last week. He said the survey was shared with the Learning for Life Career Exploring Program at Irondale and soon after, he received an invitation from the police department to join its Law Enforcement Explorer Post. He was 14-years-old at the time.  

 

Public safety over math

“I excelled at math in school, but found that my passion for public service through law enforcement was the career path for me, and fortunately I found employment in my hometown.”

In 1997, Paetznick was hired as a community service officer and has since served in several roles in the department, including police officer, multi-housing crime liaison, crime prevention officer, firefighter, fire captain, and prior to Jacobson’s departure, as the department’s deputy director. 

“I think that dual-track career in both public safety disciplines has well positioned me for this next great opportunity,” Paetznick said, also emphasizing the importance of “benefiting from the wisdom and mentoring of other great leaders within the department who have helped me develop my public safety talents and leadership abilities throughout my tenure here.”

 

‘Ability to lead’

“In working with Tony over the last several months while he has served as acting director of public safety, I have had the pleasure of getting to know him better and am so impressed with his ability to lead,” Lotter said in a statement.

That ability to lead will be essential, according to New Brighton Mayor Val Johnson.

“Law enforcement is currently being confronted with significant issues that can be challenging to a public safety department’s relationship with its community,” Johnson said, emphasizing that New Brighton “enjoys a strong relationship with the public it serves.” 

According to Johnson, Paetznick has demonstrated an “evenhanded leadership that is kind and compassionate — necessary characteristics of any public safety director.” 

Paetznick said that while the New Brighton police force has “long-enjoyed positive relationships” with the community, “there is still work to be done in this area.”  

 

Proactive and prevention-based

He said he wants to continue steering the department in a direction that is proactive and prevention-based. 

“Yet we cannot do it alone,” Paetznick noted. “Our community needs to be involved in public safety.”

He said he and his staff have benefited from elected officials and a city manager who have supported equipping and preparing the police force for the challenging work of law enforcement, “with budgetary funds for equipment, training, vehicles and our marvelous public safety center.”  

“I would encourage all citizens of New Brighton to get to know our people and this organization so that we can partner even better to deliver on our agency mission of ‘a common goal of a safe community.’”

Paetznick and his wife Stacie have three children, ages 7, 10 and 12, and live in New Brighton.

 

The deputy director

With Paetznick’s promotion, public safety acting deputy director Trevor Hamdorf has been appointed to the position of deputy director.

Hamdorf started working for the public safety department in 2001, and, like Paetznick, has served in a variety of ways, including as a patrol officer, multi-housing crime liaison, president of North Suburban Hazmat, which is a joint powers Hazmat response team, as a firefighter, fire captain and, more recently, deputy fire chief. 

Lotter said that Hamdorf “has served the city nobly for years and has demonstrated a willingness to get involved with any project inside or outside of public safety. He is a true team player and deserving of this promotion.”

Lotter said Hamdorf has an ability to build effective relationships with others and is creative in his problem-solving. 

“These qualities are not easily taught but are absolutely invaluable when considering leadership in public safety,” Lotter said. 

Paetznick’s promotion will be formally announced at the New Brighton City Council meeting Dec. 13. According to Lotter, Hamdorf’s promotion will be recognized at a future meeting yet to be determined.

 

Jesse Poole can be reached at jpoole@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815.

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