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He's the new guy on the beat

Dane Tukua recently completed his 10-week training as a new Farmington police officer. He currently works the day shift.

Fresh off of his 10-week training, Farmington's newest police officer, Dane Tukua, has settled in to his new position as a patrol officer on the daytime shift.

Officer Tukua comes to Farmington from the Prairie Island Tribal Police, where he served as a patrol officer. He's got a pretty solid education to his credit, too -- a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice from Hamline University, a paralegal certificate from Inver Hills Community College and a law enforcement certificate from Metropolitan State University.

Now that he's gotten a feel for Farmington, we sat down for a little chat to see what he thinks of his new role. Turns out, he likes it quite a bit.

So, you've been around Farmington a few weeks now. What do you think?

I really like it. I think it's a great community and I really enjoy working for the department.

Having just come off of training, what sorts of things did you do while in training?

As far as calls?

Just whatever. How do they get you acclimated in Farmington?

The big thing is learning geography, and then learning the computer system. How to work the computer and the camera on the squad and in the office, and then going over policies and procedures of the department. And a lot of its just taking calls with a field training officer with you.

Did you have the same field training officer every time?

No, I had a few different ones.

While you were in the training phase, did you have any exciting calls?

Well, I had a weapons call.

Were you part of the tornado?

I was on that night.

So how was that for you? What was that like?

Well, it was.... I'd say it was a little shocking at first to see all the damage and all of the trees in the street and the damage to the houses.

Changing direction a little bit here, is there a lot of difference between working for a city and the Prairie Island Tribal Police?

Not a lot of difference. I think probably the big things I had to learn was the geography -- I have a lot bigger geographical area now, with a lot more streets that I had to learn, and also a different computer system here to use for dispatching.

But essentially, your types of calls are similar in nature?

Pretty similar, yeah.

What made you look for another community?

Well, I went on a couple of ride-alongs here and I met a few of the officers and I'd heard really god things about the department, so I knew it was a good department to work for. And I think that Farmington is a nice community to work in.

Are you glad that you came to Farmington?

Very glad.

Do you have any area of policing that you'd eventually like to specialize in?

Well, there's a lot of opportunities here, so I'd possibly like to look into maybe getting some instructor certifications in some areas, possibly in use of force, field sobriety and possibly investigations opportunities in the future.

Are you glad you became a police officer?

Yep. Very glad. I enjoy helping people.

Why did you decide to become a police officer?

Ah, pretty much the same answer. I enjoy helping people. It's a fun job where every day is different, but really, I just like getting out there and helping people.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  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 American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also 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. 

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