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Thursday, September 14, 2017

City, Prescott PD defend hiring of part-time officer

The City of Prescott and Prescott Interim Police Chief Ron Funk defended the hiring process for part-time Prescott PD officer Jason Hickok after it had been called into question in both news reports on KDWA AM 1460/FM 97.7 radio station in Hastings, Minn. by reporter Kelly Casey and in statements made on the air by KDWA owner and general manager Dan Massman.

Hickok was hired by the Prescott PD in early July, received field training later in the month and went on duty in early August. However in February of 2014 Hickok, who worked in the Barron County Sheriff’s Department at the time, was charged with false imprisonment, disorderly conduct and assault during a domestic dispute. Hickok resigned from the department when these charges were brought. However, the charges were reduced to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in Barron County Court to which he was put on probation and required to do community service. This allowed him to keep his policing license. When he was hired to the Prescott PD, Hickok was working part-time with the Turtle Lake Police Department.

The KDWA report question the hiring procedure of Hickok but Prescott City Administrator Jayne Brand stated in a letter sent to Casey that proper protocol was followed in his hiring by the police department. Interim Chief Funk stated that while he has the authority to hire and fire part-time officers at his discretion (unlike full-time officer which requires approval from the Police Commission), he did complete background check and was aware of Hickok’s record. 

“Officer Hickok went through the application process and the background checks and he was deemed acceptable to hire.” Funk said. “He also went through the field training as well. This is a measured process and nothing was done and no hires are made as the result of a snap judgement.”

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