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A 14-year veteran of the Farmington Police Department, Sgt. Jim Murphy is filling in as acting chief while police chief Brian Lindquist is in FBI training in Quantico, Va.

Filling in as Farmington's top cop

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While Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist is off at the National FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., he's learning plenty of skills to make him a better officer and chief. Meanwhile, back in Farmington, police sergeant Jim Murphy is learning quite a bit, too.

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In Lindquist's absence, Murphy has assumed the role of acting chief for the Farmington Police Department.

Murphy joined the local department on June 3, 1996, and was promoted to a sergeant in September, 2000. These days, he's getting a taste of management until Lindquist returns in mid-December. It's a big job, but Murphy is taking advantage of the experience. Last week, he talked about it a little.

You're acting chief while Brian is gone. How did that come about?

That's a good question. I've gone to some trainings with Brian. I went to the Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar, which the FBI puts on. That was up in St. Cloud a couple years ago. That was after he got chief. Since I've been a sergeant, I've just kind of taken some classes along the way. I don't know why he picked me. I hope it's because he thinks I do a good job and represent the city well.

The hours that you're putting in right now, are they pretty much the same?

The same as I was doing as sergeant. I'm still working every other weekend, three days a week during the day. It's just now I come in for extra stuff like budget workshops, manager meetings, things of that nature.

When you're on a regular sergeant's kind of shift, what sort of things do you do?

Right now, I do scheduling and just kind of supervise stuff. That happens on my shift. Just like Kevin (Mincke), he supervises things when he's on. It just kind of varies from day to day. That's why we love this job. It's always different. Just now I was helping somebody get property out of their forfeited car.... Fridays are usually a little more low-key as far as administrative stuff goes.

So what is different with your job now as acting chief?

It's a lot more of dealing with management at city hall and other employees at city hall. If we have a joint powers agreement that has to go to the city attorney for review and then submitting memos to city council, that kind of stuff, for training or whatever we have going on at the time. Really, it's not a whole lot of extra duties, but it's just in case somebody needs to talk to somebody in a leadership role. We can all kind of do the job, but if there's one person they have to go to then that would be me while (Brian) is gone. I can still contact him while he's gone, either through email or Nextel.

If he's gone through mid-December, that means you're going through the budget process. How is that going?

It's going. I mean, it's going because it has to. As far as the police department budget, I think it's pretty much set. There's certain things we need. We need what we need - you know, cars. Ammunition. Training. Police stuff. It's just a lot of our expense. We take up a majority of the budget, or 40 percent or whatever it is, but we're also here 24/7.

Since he's still going to be gone into December, does that mean you're organizing Toys for Town?

The people who normally organize that - Sgt. Constantineau helps, of course, Margie, Sandy and Sondra - do most of the legwork for that. I know last year, Brian just kind of made some command decisions for that. If I have to do that, it's fine. But it's kind of gotten to the point where it really runs itself, especially with the kids out at the high school.... Margie's already started contacting businesses to see if we can come out there and put up collection boxes, so yes, we're already starting to put it together.

How does this experience play into your future as a police officer? Is it something you would consider down the road?

Being chief?

Yes.

Well, you know, I've always considered it. I considered it briefly when (former chief Dan) Siebenaler left, but it just wasn't the right time for me with young kids. Kind of focus on family. But yeah, some point down the line I would certainly consider it. I like Farmington. It's a great community. I don't plan on going anywhere.

Any other words of wisdom?

Words of wisdom? You know, people will say, jokingly, 'Hey, how's it going being acting chief?' and I just kind of say, 'Hey, living the dream,' you know? But I learn something new every week. It's a good experience. Nothing that I've gone, 'Oh my, I don't know what to do with this' yet. There's plenty of people to bounce ideas off of. And a lot of it is just knowing who to ask, too.

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Michelle Leonard
Michelle Leonard started covering the Farmington community in June, 1994. Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the Farmington American Legion Auxiliary Unit 189, and acts as the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 
(651) 460-6606
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