The Grand Rapids Police Department has a new officer and two new captains.

On Monday, the Grand Rapids City Council approved the hire of Janell Hecimovich to the position of Police Officer. 

At the Aug. 23, 2021 city council meeting, the council authorized city staff to post an internal job posting for Police Officer.

The position was posted and the city received two letters of interest. The interview committee consisting of Police Chief Steve Schaar, Police Sergeant Jeff Carlson, Police Sergeant Heath Smith, and Director of Human Services Lynn DeGrio recommended appointing Hecimovich to the position effective Oct. 1, 2021. This is subject to a background check, drug testing, physical exam, and psychological testing.

The wage is determined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement by and between the City of Grand Rapids and Law Enforcement Labor Services, Inc. (Local No. 239) and will start at $27.44 per hour.

Hecimovich was hired on June 28, 2016 as an Administrative Assistant in the Grand Rapids Police Department. She received a Bachelor’s Degree from Brown College of Mendota Heights, Minn., and recently received an Associate of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Hibbing Community College. Hecimovich recently took a short-term leave of absence to participate in skills training and passed the POST Board exam in August.

Working closely with the department during the past five years has allowed Hecimovich the opportunity to learn about law enforcement. She is eager to join the department as a Police Officer and continue learning while providing care and compassion to the citizens of Grand Rapids.

“I’m proud of her for taking advantage of our tuition reimbursement program,” commented City Administrator Tom Pagel prior to the council’s approval of Hecimovich’s appointment. 

During Monday’s council meeting, the council also approved the appointment of two Police Captains. This followed action the council took on Aug. 9, 2021 when the council adopted a new organization structure for the Grand Rapids Police Department and authorized city staff to post the two Police Captain positions internally.

The positions were posted and they initially received five letters of interest. One of the applicants withdrew from the process, so four candidates were interviewed.

The Interview Committee consisting of Councilor Rick Blake, Administrator Pagel, Chief Schaar, and Director of Human Resources recommended appointing Andy Morgan and Kevin Ott to the Police Captain positions effective Sept. 20, 2021.

The salary range for Police Captain has been established at $74,709.99 - $94,939.84. The committee recommended starting them just above midpoint at $85,000.00 annually.

Andy Morgan has been employed by the City of Grand Rapids for nearly 20 years. Throughout these years, Morgan has served as a Patrol Officer, Investigator, and currently is a Sergeant. Morgan is known in the department for his extensive community involvement.

Ott has been employed by the City of Grand Rapids since 2008. Throughout these years, Ott has served as a School Resource Officer, Patrol Officer, Police Investigator, and is currently a Police Sergeant. Ott has organized events such as National Night Out and is currently the TZD Coordinator. He also manages the Hospital Security Officers.

With the new organization structure, this creates a Police Sergeant vacancy. The city will post the position internally and will come back to the city council at a later date with a recommendation to fill the vacancy.


The council held a public hearing Monday to consider the adoption of an ordinance amending and updating multiple sections of Article VI Zoning within Chapter 30 Land Development Regulations.

Over the past year, staff had accumulated a short list of sections within Article VI (Zoning) of Chapter 30 (Land Development) of the Municipal Code. The identified items, proposed for review, generally fell into a category of new language or text being added, or the updating or modernization of the text due to inconsistencies, duplication, need of further clarification, or the section/language simply being outdated.

On May 6, 2021 the Planning Commission formally initiated this review process, and formed a subcommittee of three Commissioners to work with staff on further developing potential amendments to the text of the Zoning Ordinance, which would then be presented to the full Planning Commission for review and recommendation to the city council.

Generally, the Planning Commission initiated amendments pertained to the following areas/sections of the Zoning Ordinance:

• Sec. 30-596. Parking lot design and maintenance standards. – pertaining to private driveway and street intersection separation requirements.

• Section 30-512. Table of permitted uses. – consider adding Salon/Barbershop use to permitted use table under “Retail” subheading.

• Section 30-482. Zoning districts map. – change designated office where official zoning map is kept.

• Section 30-628. Minimum number. - Review off-street parking requirements for Car Washes and the footnote establishing stacking spaces for the wash bays. This changes the number of required parking spaces from 12 to six for both principal-use and accessory car washes.

 • Consider the addition and establishment of a “Small Scale Agricultural” or “Grower Stand” use within the Rural Residential zoning district areas of town, as recommended by the 2020 Comprehensive Plan. Grower stand, means an area accessory to an on-site agricultural operation that is used to sell farm products produced on-site where the total sales area does not exceed 1,500 square feet.

The Planning Commission Subcommittee met with staff July 19 to review the Sections of the Ordinance proposed for amendment, as well as have further discussion on the salon/barbershop use, parking requirements for car washes, and the development of the “Small Scale Agricultural” or “Grower Stand” use within the Rural Residential zoning district.

Following the public hearing, with no public comment, the council approved the recommendation of the Planning Commission regarding the adoption of the amendments to the ordinance. 

In other business Monday, the council:

• Approved Council minutes for Monday, Aug. 23, 2021 Worksession and Regular meetings and Aug. 31, 2021 Special meeting. 

• Approved the verified claims for the period Aug. 17, 2021 to Sept. 6, 2021 in the total amount of $1,605,455.19 of which $245,000 are investments. 

• Approved a temporary liquor license for Itasca Curling Association Inc., for an event on Oct. 29-31, 2021.

• Approved an employee status change for Joshua Saunders.

• Accepted the resignation of Jim Martinetto from the Police Community Advisory Board

• Accepted a donation of $250.00 in gift certificates for Jimmy Johns from George Edwards to the Police Department. 

• Adopted a resolution authorizing an operating transfer.

• Accepted the resignation of Leann Stoll from the Human Rights Commission

• Adopted a resolution entering into a grant agreement with the State of Minnesota for the GPZ Beacon Relocation project.

• Approved Change Order 3 related to CP 2015-3, Hwy 2 West Trail.

• Adopted a resolution approving the Fifth Amendment to the Amended and Restated Contract for Private Development with Grand Plaza Limited Partnership

• Adopted a resolution declaring the cost to be assessed and ordering the preparation of proposed assessments for CP 2021-2, 5th Street SW Reconstruction.

 • Adopted a resolution calling for a public hearing approving proposed final special assessments on CP 2021-2, 5th Street SW Reconstruction.

• Accepted a $300,000 Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation (IRRR) Development Partnership grant for the Minnesota Autonomous Rural Transit Initiative

• Accepted a $50,000 Blandin Foundation Arrowhead Intelligent Region grant for the Minnesota Autonomous Rural Transit Initiative Smart Rural Mobility Seminars.

• Approved a grant application to the Itasca County Aquatic Invasive Species Program.

• Authorized a grant application to the Blandin Foundation for the Minnesota Autonomous Rural Transit Initiative (MARTI) project.

• Accepted the resignation of Alida Hogan from the part-time Hospital Security Officer position.

• Ratified a contract with the Chamber of Commerce.

• Rehired Matthew Moen to the position of Part-Time Hospital Security Officer

• Hired a seasonal employee at Pokegama Golf Course.

• Approved the purchase of a 2022 Stealth Trailers Yukon 7x14V trailer, spare tire and mount and any associated license fees that are applicable from Roth RV out of Grand Rapids, Minn., and approved payment.

• Hired Cade Marquardt as a Seasonal Maintenance employee at the IRA Civic Center.

• Approved change orders for New Fire Hall.

•Authorized the hiring of a temporary employee for Administrative Assistant/Communications Specialist position.

• Awarded a contract for engineering services pertaining to the Grand Rapids/Cohasset Industrial Redevelopment Sanitary Sewer and Water Extension Project for SEH Inc. and entering into a contract for Phases 3 and 4. 


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