River Falls council talks police chief term limits

Published 2:30 am Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The River Falls Town Council discussed whether or not to add a term limit to the police chief in addition to taking control of who gets to appoint the police chief.

The council introduced an ordinance that would give the council authority to select the next police chief.

The ordinance would have no bearing on current Police Chief Cody Warren.

However, it is unclear if a term limit is set whether the council has the authority to set it for Warren’s term of it they would have to set it for the next administration.

Town attorney William Alverson said he would research and confirm the answer with the League of Municipalities, and they could add an amendment to the ordinance after it is passed, if they so choose.

Council member Richard Bowden brought proposal for the term limits, but also said he now does not challenge the mayor’s authority in appointing Warren chief.

At a previous meeting, Bowden challenged the authority of Mayor Patricia Gunter in her choice to appoint Warren and not reappoint former Police Chief Greg Jackson when she was sworn in for a second term.

“Going forward, we as six people should have say,” Bowden said. “I was very familiar with the experience of the previous chief. With all due respect, I am not experienced with Cody. I would like for us to set his term to one year.”

Alverson told Bowden he couldn’t do anything to affect Warren’s term, but he could affect future appointments.

Bowden read a reply from the League that said the council could set the terms.

Bowden said the council wasn’t sure what terms that the mayor had agreed on with Warren.

Alverson agreed it wasn’t clear on when the term limits would begin, but promised to dig a little bit.

Mayor Pro Tem Cleve Harris said the council couldn’t get upset with someone and try to put someone else in the position just because they like that person.

Alverson also said they also must look into seeing if that could be considered usurping the mayor’s power, which is not legal.

“I don’t want to flip from possible litigation here to possible litigation here,” Alverson said.