At the Stillwater City Council’s meeting on Nov. 17 Brian Mueller was approved as Stillwater’s next police chief. He will take his post at the helm starting Jan. 11.

The Stillwater City Charter Requires a vote by council for the approval of department heads, said City Administrator Tom McCarty.

Councilors told Mueller to not speak in the meeting until after the vote, in case they didn’t approve his hiring. Clearly, they were joking as the new police chief was unanimously approved.

“I’m humbled, and I’m honored,” Mueller said, “and I’m super excited. I’m looking forward to Jan. 11 no doubt. We are absolutely thrilled our favorite part of the process was the community involvement.”

City staff held interviews for a new police chief in October, and Mueller was one of five finalists.

Mueller said that every Stillwater stakeholder was involved in the hiring process.

“This solidified it was the right place for me,” Mueller said.

Mueller was the chief deputy for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. He has worked for WCSO for 22 years.

Mueller replaces John Gannaway who retired at the end of September.

Gannaway announced his retirement on Stillwater Police Department’s Facebook page on Sept. 29.

“I am retiring from the Law Enforcement profession after 33 years, the last 13 years as the Chief of Police in Stillwater, Gannaway wrote. I am humbled to have served as your Chief. The support you have had for the Police Department has always been amazing.”

Law enforcement officers get accused of racial bias, but Gannaway stated he has never seen that behavior from Stillwater officers.

“The past few months, starting with the COVID pandemic, and then with the civil unrest (sparked by the death of George Floyd), the officers and staff of the Stillwater Police Department have been steadfast, dependable, and dedicated. This is the most trying time that law enforcement has experienced in the 33 years I have been in the profession. You should be as proud of them as I am.”

During the council’s meeting. Mayor Ted Kozlowski lamented the fact that COVID-19 has cancelled celebrations for outgoing long-term staff members.

“It sucks that with COVID we can’t do our cake and coffee,” Kozlowski said.

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