Waller: Politics, retirement unrelated
Roger Waller said he was honored to serve Duluth as a police officer and chief Wednesday in announcing he will retire Sept. 30. He said it has always been his plan to retire at 55 after 30 years in law enforcement. He'll reach that mark on Sept. ...
Roger Waller said he was honored to serve Duluth as a police officer and chief Wednesday in announcing he will retire Sept. 30.
He said it has always been his plan to retire at 55 after 30 years in law enforcement. He'll reach that mark on Sept. 1.
"I'm looking forward to some time off," he said following a news conference.
Mayor Herb Bergson said he did not ask the chief to retire. The two have found themselves on different sides of the fence recently, with Waller asking for more cops and Bergson threatening layoffs, but they also laughed and joked together, the mayor said.
"We continued to discuss issues as manager and subordinate," Bergson said. "I have to be the bad guy and manage and say we only have so much" money.
But some city councilors said the tension between Bergson and Waller was evident and put the chief under pressure. Councilor Jim Stauber, who has run an ambulance service and worked closely with the chief said he has "great integrity, great honesty and (is) a great cop."
The hiring freeze has been "devastating" to the department, Stauber said.
"I was surprised," he said after the press conference. "It probably makes the mayor and CAO (interim chief administrative officer John Hall) happy" along with "a boatload of criminals."
Superior Police Chief Floyd Peters had already been appointed to his position when Waller stepped up to chief.
"I'm going to miss Roger," Peters said today. "We have a good working relationship. I know he was eligible for retirement, but I was surprised that it was announced yesterday."
When Waller took office, he and Peters, and staff of both police departments started to meet to create working relationships to tackle crime issues facing both Twin Port communities. Among the efforts are the financial crimes task force and Lake Superior Drug Task Force.
"We started working from a regional perspective," Peters said. "We know that crime issues that affect Duluth, affect Superior and vice versa. Both of us embraced that philosophical concept."
Peters said he anticipated the relationships created under Waller's tenure as chief will continue.