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Three new officers join police department

Hastings’ newest police officers, Paul Young, Brandon Bragg and Whitney Rinowski, are pictured with the city council and public safety advisory committee members. Star Gazette photos by Katrina Styx

Three new police officers were sworn in Monday, April 7, and have begun working in Hastings.

The new officers fill vacancies in the department following some recent retirements. The hiring process began in late 2013. There were more than 115 applicants originally, said City Administrator Melanie Mesko Lee.

The new officers are now beginning their field training, which consists of 14 weeks of on-the-job training and evaluation.

Paul Young is a 2007 graduate of North High School in North St. Paul. He attended Alexandria Technical and Community College and earned a law enforcement degree in 2009. He started working as a deputy in the Mountrail County Sheriff’s Office in North Dakota and then became a police officer with the Ely Police Department, where he has worked for the past four years. Young decided to move back to the metro area to be closer to home. He also has a twin brother who is an officer in Aitkin, and has displayed his classic car at the Hastings car shows.

Whitney Rinowski is a 2006 graduate of the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield. She attended Saint Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., and earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She went on to get an associate’s degree in law enforcement from Normandale Community College and her law enforcement certificate at Hennepin Technical College. She passed the Minnesota Peace Officer Licensing Examination in February, 2013. Her interests include horseback riding, reading, cooking, traveling, volunteering, attending sporting events and concerts. She is an active member of the community, volunteering her time to local organizations.

Brandon Bragg is a 2006 graduate of Eagan Senior High School. He continued his education at Minnesota State University in Mankato, earning a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and a double-minor in law enforcement and business administration. He got his law enforcement certificate at Metropolitan State University and passed his Minnesota Peace Officer Licensing Examination in October, 2012. Bragg lives in Eagan and enjoys the outdoors, going to his family’s cabin, playing hockey, spending time with his wife and family, mountain biking, kayaking and snowboarding.